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

This month in 1927, Duke Ellington’s orchestra opened at New York’s Cotton Club. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, it was a gig that would fire up Ellington’s career and change the way people thought about jazz. Terry Teachout's Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington is published by Gotham Books.

Handel’s Messiah, originally composed for performance during the springtime Christian observance of Lent, has become a contemporary staple of Christmas celebrations in modern America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this 18th-century oratorio.

Although Handel’s Messiah is now regularly performed during the Christmas holidays, the work was actually premiered in the spring before Easter. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the fantastically successful masterpiece, which was created by necessity in just 24 days over two centuries ago.


Marco Borggreve

Is leading a symphony orchestra anything like playing chess? As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, one very busy conductor, Alain Altinoglu, is drawn to both.

Credit: Felix Broede

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a highly educated member of the Russian elite. But it’s his connection with folk tunes and the countryside that especially touches one of today’s young classical stars. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

The play Black Nativity by Langston Hughes opened in New York in 1961, and was adapted for film in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia is staging another version of this Christmas story, set in Darfur. Black Nativity: An African Holiday Musical is at the New Freedom Theatre at 1346 North Broad Street in Philadelphia through December 18th.

What instrument has been used to conjure a shepherd’s horn as well as a human cry of despair? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the oddly named, but evocative, English horn.

A new book looks into the tunes that put the "roar" in "The Roaring Twenties." WRTI's Susan Lewis spoke with the author of Tunes of the Twenties and All That Jazz: The Stories Behind the Songs.

Music lives in Center City, Philadelphia, home of Play On, Philly!, a program modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema, in which underserved children are taught to play classical music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the program is as much about social change as it is about music. On Giving Tuesday, your pledge to WRTI will be matched by an anonymous donor in support of Play On, Philly! Pledge Here, and thanks so much!

Credit: Steph Mackinnon

What kind of music would speak to Bach today? Cellist Matt Haimovitz—who has been performing works by Bach in concert halls and clubs for the last three decades—asked composers to respond to the preludes from Bach’s cello suites. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports.

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