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.

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Creatively Speaking
6:30 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Determined To Beat MS: Cellist Robert Cafaro Plays On!

This is cellist Bob Cafaro's 30th season with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
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.  

Radio script:

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Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Designing Buildings Where Art Amazes and Sound Soars

Frank Gehry at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Master Plan press preview in June, 2014. By his own account, music and art are among his favorite things.
Constance Mensh

Award-winning architect Frank Gehry, known for designing buildings with striking exteriors, is now partnering with The Philadelphia Museum of Art on a mostly interior renovation and expansion of its classical structure. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, this renowned architect is inspired by classical as well as contemporary culture.

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Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon February 23, 2015

How a Russian-Born Philadelphian Helped Give New Life to a Song Van Cliburn Loved

Van Cliburn
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.

Here are several ensembles presenting the Russian folk song performed at Van Cliburn's funeral service.

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Creatively Speaking
6:03 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Eschenbach Wins International Award for a Life in Music

Christoph Eschenbach

Former Philadelphia Orchestra music director Christoph Eschenbach has been awarded The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for a life in the service of music. On Sunday afternoon March 1, 2015, Eschenbach leads The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI in a program featuring music by Strauss and Schumann.
 

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Creatively Speaking
3:10 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Peter Richard Conte: Performing Orchestral Works With Two Hands and Two Feet

Wanamaker Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte

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

Radio script:

Organist Peter Richard Conte plays the Wanamaker Organ, built in 1909 for the St. Louis World’s Fair, then expanded in the 1920s for the seven-story Grand Court of what is now Macy’s Center City department store. It is a mega example of a symphonic organ, which is designed to have orchestral sounds.

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Creatively Speaking
2:38 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Performing The Majestic Music of J.S. Bach: A Modern Yet Historical Approach

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski leads The Philadelphians in works by J.S. Bach, Mahler, and R. Strauss on WRTI, March 30 at 1 pm.

In recent years, J. S. Bach's music has been embraced by period performers, and played less frequently by big symphony orchestras. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, The Philadelphia Orchestra takes a very modern - yet historical - approach to his music in WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, February 22 at 1 pm.

The broadcast also features Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and music of Strauss and Mahler.

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Creatively Speaking
7:28 am
Mon February 9, 2015

The Artist Who Launched Albert Barnes' Collection With A Trip To Paris and $20,000

William Glackens. Cape Cod Pier, 1908. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Gift of an Anonymous Donor

    

Among those who have shaped Philadelphia’s cultural landscape is someone who not only created his own art, but also influenced the development of the now-renowned Barnes collection in the early 20th century. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on realist painter and Barnes confidant William Glackens (1870-1938).

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Creatively Speaking
5:12 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Will 27 Pieces Win Violinist Hilary Hahn One More Grammy Award?

[Update: Yes! Hilary Hahn won in her category on February 8, 2015]

An encore may be played after a scheduled piece. However, it’s not an afterthought. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, violinist Hillary Hahn’s collection of commissioned encores, that is up for a GRAMMY for "Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance" at next month’s ceremony, showcases more than two dozen such works for violin and piano.

Radio script:

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Creatively Speaking
5:03 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

How a Charming & Deadly Con Man Inspired an Opera and Concerto: A Real-Life Story

A 19th-century American saloon is the setting for Bramwell Tovey's 'Songs of the Paradise Saloon" concerto for trumpet and orchestra, based on an evil manipulator, who was a shyster and a murderer.

The true story of a 19th-century swindler in New York City inspired not only an opera, but also a concerto. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Bramwell Tovey’s Songs of the Paradise Saloon for trumpet and orchestra.

Radio Script:

Susan Lewis: Commissioned by the Calgary Opera, Bramwell Tovey became intrigued by the life of a notorious man named Alexander Keith. Both charming and deadly, Keith swindled many, and eventually planted explosives in an ocean liner, killing 80 people.  

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Creatively Speaking
11:24 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Ask a Young Artist Why Music Matters

The Curtis Institute of Music is turning out young musicians who not only play extremely well, but are also advocates for their art form. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, three recent grads, now members of the Bok Trio, are passionate about the importance of music, and optimistic about its future. 

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