Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Reporter

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes weekly features to Creatively Speaking with Jim Cotter, produces arts news, and works as a news anchor.

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.

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Creatively Speaking
3:57 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Yannick Shares The Hidden Meaning in Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony

Richard Strauss finished composing AN ALPINE SYMPHONY in 1915. It's scored for an enormous orchestra with 16 horns, two timpani, organ, and multiple percussion, including thunder and wind machines.

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.

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Creatively Speaking
11:53 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Music Sowing Seeds of Cross-Cultural Understanding

Lebanese composer, singer, and oud master Marcel Khalife

The arts can encourage positive cultural identity and promote cross-cultural understanding. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, that’s the premise of the Philadelphia-based organization Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, open to people of all backgrounds and presenting and teaching Arab language, art, and music, which can vary among the 22 countries in the Arab world.

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Creatively Speaking
1:31 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Carol Jantsch: Taking the Tuba Beyond Oom-Pah-Pahs

Tuba player Carol Jantsch

The largest member of an orchestra’s brass section was invented in the 1830s to play low and powerful notes. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the tuba has a surprising range and versatility. Susan spoke with Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch for some insight into the world of the tuba.

Jantsch's recordings include her 2009 solo album, Cascades, and Reflections on the Mississippi, a new CD featuring a tuba concerto written by Michael Daugherty for Jantsch and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra.

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Creatively Speaking
7:18 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Stephen Hough on Tchaikovsky: Finding New Inspiration from an Old Master

Pianist Stephen Hough

Concert pianist Stephen Hough also composes, writes articles for an online publication, and likes to paint.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the internationally renowned soloist continues to find fresh inspiration in the great masterworks.

Stephen Hough is soloist on WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast - Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm.  Tune in to hear Hough play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Philadelphians.

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Creatively Speaking
11:00 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Losing His Head in the Opera, Salome: Bass-Baritone Alan Held

In Richard Strauss' SALOME, the character depicting John the Baptist is beheaded after he refuses the advances of Salome.

It was a Bible story, and then a French play by Oscar Wilde. Then it was translated into German, before Strauss turned it into his opera, Salome. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a production from May, 2014 continued the evolution of this complex and compelling work of art.

On Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 1 pm on WRTI, listen to a recorded broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia performing Richard Strauss' Salome.

Creatively Speaking
6:30 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Soprano Camilla Nylund: Singing SALOME Throughout The World

Lyric dramatic soprano Camilla Nylund, a native of Finland, singing Salome with Opera Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Orchestra in May, 2014.
Dominic Mercier

Oscar Wilde’s late 19th-century play, retelling the biblical story of Salome, became the basis for Richard Strauss' one-act opera SALOME that premiered in Dresden in 1905. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the opera continues to shock and dazzle, nearly a century later.

WRTI re-broadcasts The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia in a joint production of Salome, with Camilla Nylund in the title role, on Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm.

Creatively Speaking
12:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Pictures at an Exhibition: The Evolution of a Masterpiece

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881)

One popular work in the orchestral repertoire was written by a Russian composer and then orchestrated decades later by a Frenchman. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, this version had its first performance in October in Paris  in 1922. The music describes a stroll through the gallery - a promenade - with ten specific images brought to life.

Six of the drawings and watercolors that inspired Mussorgsky have survived.  The first performance of Pictures at an Exhibition as orchestrated by Ravel took place in Paris on October 19th in 1922.

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Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon October 20, 2014

The Legacy of Jazz Singer and Pianist Shirley Horn

Jazz singer Shirley Horn (1934-2005)

 

Known for her distinctive singing, which she did most often from the keyboard, Shirley Horn studied classical music before turning to jazz in the 1950s.  In the early '60s she caught the attention of Miles  Davis, and then her career started to take off.

Philadelphia-based singer Phyllis Chapell spoke with WRTI's Susan Lewis about how her own approach to music changed when she began listening to Shirley Horn, beginning with the song, "Here’s to Life."

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Creatively Speaking
11:39 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Mozart's Musical Mysteries with 19-Year-Old Superstar Pianist Jan Lisiecki

Polish/Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki was Gramophone Magazine's 2013 Young Artist of the Year.

Among Mozart’s hundreds of compositions are 27 piano concertos. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the young pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is making his mark today, is drawn to their musical purity, emotional complexity, and sense of fun.

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Creatively Speaking
11:36 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Taking Jazz to Spiritual Settings

The Jazz Sanctuary at Gloria Dei Church in South Philly.

The Jazz Sanctuary is an organization that takes jazz into houses of worship and other nontraditional venues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, founder Alan Segal says jazz and the spiritual community drove his recovery from a life-threatening crisis.

The Jazz Sanctuary presents concerts open to the public at houses of worship and other non-profit venues. Information about upcoming concerts.

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