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

Clapping, snapping, and tapping one’s body can teach rhythm and enliven a musical performance. And, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, body percussion is also being used to make people feel better.

J. Ho / Visit Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs for Pope Francis this weekend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: at a concert on Saturday, and during a celebration of Mass on Sunday afternoon. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the Orchestra’s role in the World Meeting of Families. 

Today, a symphony orchestra is most often - but not always - led by a conductor.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in some cases, the concertmaster may lead the group – but not from the conductor’s podium.

The Grand Court Wanamaker symphonic organ pairs with a lesser-known member of the brass family to provide an engaging new take on old favorites of opera and classical repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the pioneering sound.

Dmitri Shostakovich, known for many dramatic works composed in the shadow of Stalin, showed a different side - one filled with humor and family ties - in his Piano Concerto No. 2.

Listen to WRTI on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 1 pm as Kirill Gerstein performs Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Details here.

The Philadelphia Opera Collective continues its mission to make opera accessible. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the way the five-year-old collective is promoting the art form by staging new works in intimate settings with a small ensemble telling compelling stories.

Jump the Moon, part of the 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, opens September 16th and runs through September 20th at the Adrienne Theater's SkyBox in Center City, Philadelphia. 

Sim Canetty-Clarke

A contemporary concerto by English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage explores the vast range of musical ideas a piano can express. WRTI’s Susan Lewis spoke with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, the soloist who premiered it, and who performs it again on Sunday, September 6th at 1 pm on WRTI’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast. Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts. Also on the program is music by Rachmaninoff. 

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.