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

A world-premiere recording of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto released this year has won an international award. How can such a well-known piece be having a recording premiere? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Jessica Griffin

The Philadelphia Orchestra has over 100 musicians, and as many stories - often inspiring and surprising.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles Bob Cafaro, a cellist in the Orchestra since 1985, whose artistry is matched by his determination to live fully, both onstage and off.  

Former Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Christoph Eschenbach was awarded The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for a life in the service of music this past May.

As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, music helped heal the emotional wounds Eschenbach suffered as a child in World War II, after he lost both parents. Eschenbach’s mother died at his birth, and his father, an active anti-Nazi, died in a punishment battalion sent to the front. Rescued from a refugee camp in 1945 by his mother’s cousin, the five-year-old Christoph didn’t speak for a year—until he started piano lessons.

Dilworth Park at Philadelphia’s City Hall boasts new attractions - including greenery, a café, and a fountain that becomes an ice skating rink in winter. But the newly redesigned space also draws attention to older works of art and a family that made its mark on the city for nearly a century. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, one need look up.

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.

Radio script:

Competitions have tested serious music students for decades. They also have prompted the composition of works that continue to enrich the repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Claude Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Orchestra.

The symphonic organ had its heyday in the first half of the 20th century, when organists frequently transcribed and played works written for orchestra. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, that practice is now coming back into musical fashion.

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. 

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.

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.