Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Reporter

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes Arts Desk features, and weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast series on WRTI with host Gregg Whiteside.

She is also a freelance essayist, journalist, and speechwriter who has written about Philadelphia for Insight Guides and Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's Culture Files.  A former columnist for Philadelphia Magazine, she is the author of Reinventing Ourselves after Motherhood and a book of essays. Her work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Child Magazine, Parents Magazine, Reader's Digest and Ladies' Home Journal (Parents Digest).

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Susan is also a lawyer, with a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College, Connecticut, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She has practiced law in New York City and taught entertainment law at Rutgers Law School in Camden.

Ways To Connect

Classical and Latin American music are flourishing in North Wales, PA, where professional chamber musicians share their music and culture with students from near and far. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the Community Arts Network called ArCoNet – which this week is hosting its annual Dali Quartet International Music Festival.

In 1874, a Methodist preacher and a businessman founded Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York to train Sunday School teachers and provide adult education. Today, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Chautauqua’s many offerings include lectures by high-profile speakers, and a panoply of art and music events – all in a disarmingly informal lakeside setting. 

Radio Script: 

Rick Echelmeyer, photographer / The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia displays its art exactly the way it was shown in Albert C. Barnes’ mansion in Merion. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, three visual artists respond to the idiosyncratic ensembles of Impressionist masters, African art, metalwork, furniture, and more.

In the first part of the 20th century, live music accompanied the otherwise silent movies. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, concerts that pair projections of popular films, such as The Lord of the Rings, with live performances of their scores, showcase the music and the imagery in a whole new light.

Although Russian pianist, composer and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff became an international star, his first symphony was considered a failure when it premiered in 1897, and was not performed again during the composer’s lifetime. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today it’s regarded much differently. 

On Sunday, July 25th at 1 pm on WRTI, listen to a re-broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1 in 2014.

The Faure Requiem – with full orchestra, choir, and soloists - premiered on July 12, 1900. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, it was not a typical requiem, nor was it the first incarnation of the work. 

Radio script:

Susan Lewis: The Faure Requiem, known to us today, had its first performance at a World’s Fair, the Paris Exposition of 1900. Also, its not the original version.

Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony is, on one level, a musical description of nature. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the accessible music belies a greater meaning.

Based on a boyhood experience getting caught in a storm hiking in the Alps, the idea for An Alpine Symphony germinated for years in Strauss’s mind.  It wasn’t until after Gustav Mahler died, that he determined to finish the work, which he regarded as a tribute to his fellow composer.

Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.

On Sunday, July 12 at 1 pm on WRTI, Lisa Batiashvili performs Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast. Details here.

Among the hundreds of outdoor sculptures that dot Philadelphia’s urban landscape are three classical music masters. But they're not where you might expect to find them.

Cliff Waatt

At the age of 8, violinist Sarah Chang was featured as soloist with the New York Philharmonic. Soon afterwards, she played with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Today, she has a full career playing with orchestras all over the world. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles this busy artist, who still calls the Philadelphia area home.


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