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

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.


A summer jazz series is once again showcasing music in a historic neighborhood setting. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the annual series presented by Sol Unlimited Jazz and Arts.

Susan Lewis: The idea behind a family-friendly jazz series started with Sol Unlimited’s driving force, singer-songwriter Serena Sol Brown, who studied piano and experienced jazz at an early age.

When can music composed for a film stand on its own? WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on how John Williams’ suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind translates to the concert stage.

On WRTI Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 1 pm, Stéphane Denève conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra in a program featuring excerpts of the music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as music by Lindberg and Prokofiev.

There’s some great classical music not often played at adult concert series. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, The Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal guest conductor points to several under-performed masterworks that speak to everyone.

Radio script:

Music: Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals

Music intersects with visual art in a new string quartet. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work is a musical reaction to the unconventional way that paintings, furniture, metalwork and other objects are displayed at the Barnes Foundation.

Radio script:

Music: Carrot Revolution

Susan Lewis: The beginning of the string quartet called Carrot Revolution is quite percussive - with sounds you don’t think of as coming from violins, viola, and cello.

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