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

Credit: Joseph Lange

Mozart mentioned in a letter to his father that he wanted to write a mass for his new wife Constanze, who was a soprano. “But there was no commission,” says Temple University music history professor Steven Zohn. “It’s not usual for him to write something on spec or just because he wanted to write something that showed the love for his wife.”

Gregory Manchess

When American pianist Van Cliburn died in 2013, funeral organizers in Texas couldn’t locate an obscure piece of music he’d requested for the service. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to a Philadelphia connection, the Russian folk song was found, and is now enjoying new life in America. "Vanya Klibern," as he was called in Russia, says Inna Lobanova-Heasley, was "a rock star" there.

Peter Pagast/Restored 2015 by Thomas Walton. Photo by Steve Weinik / ©2001 Mural Arts Philadelphia

Grover Washington, Jr.’s hit albums included Mister Magic in 1974 and Winelight in 1981; the latter won him two Grammy Awards in '82. A larger-than-life mural on the corner of Broad and Diamond streets pays tribute to the famed saxophonist who, for over three decades, called Philadelphia his home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Tchaikovsky grappled with the issue of fate in an early symphonic poem, and in his 4th symphony, when he described it as a ‘fatal force.’ But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in his 5th symphony he suggests a way to be happy in the face of events beyond our control.

Two great sax players were born on the same day, just three years apart. On February 2nd, 1924, Sonny Stitt was born in Boston, and Stan Getz made his first appearance in Philadelphia on the same day in 1927. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, each had his own style that would influence future generations.

How does music—without words—respond to political and social turmoil? WRTI’s Susan Lewis considers FREEDOM, a recording featuring flute, piano, and cello. Created independently, each of three works speaks in its own way to artistic freedom and the human spirit.


The second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7—the Allegretto—has captivated listeners since the symphony’s 1813 premiere, when it was so popular that the orchestra used it as an encore. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on why this particular movement continues to engages us.

A New Take on Timpani

Jun 19, 2017

There aren't many concertos composed for timpani. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Maurice Wright has written a work that celebrates the instrument and its often untapped range.

What was the sound of Philadelphia in the late 18th century? As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Dolce Suono Ensemble is going to historic sites to perform music favored by the leaders of the new republic.

The songs, or standards, known to us today as "The Great American Songbook" flourished from the mid 1920s to about 1950. Singer Carmen McRae popularized the term with her 1972 album, The Great American Songbook. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book on the subject shines light on the role of jazz in the rise, fall, and rebirth of these great American songs.


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