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

He won the 2015 GRAMMY for "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" for his album, Play, and he collaborates with musicians in a wide variety of styles. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on classical guitar virtuoso Jason Vieaux.

Radio script:

Susan Lewis: Jason Vieaux’s Grammy-winning album, Play, showcases his solo work with music from Europe, Africa, Cuba, South America and Mexico – as well as his own arrangement of a Duke Ellington tune.

American violinist Benjamin Beilman is making his mark in recitals and as soloist in orchestral programs, both at home and abroad. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the 25-year-old Curtis graduate enthusiastically embraces a wide range of music. Beilman performs Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI, Sunday, May 10 at 1 pm.

Radio script:

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.

Radio script:

Duke Ellington wrote and performed hundreds of musical works, and changed the way people thought about jazz. And, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his contributions went beyond the music.

Terry Teachout's Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington is published by Gotham Books.

Twentieth-century Austrian composer Alban Berg dedicated his Violin Concerto to the memory of the 18-year-old daughter of a friend. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work evokes emotion not typically associated with the 12-tone style.

Gil Shaham performs Berg's Violin Concerto on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI, Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 1 pm.

The word percussion comes from the Latin word percussionem, meaning 'to strike.'  But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, playing percussion in a symphony orchestra also requires rhythm, musicality, and physical grace.

Percussion instruments can keep the beat, but they also add color. Angela Zator Nelson is The Philadelphia Orchestra’s associate principal timpani and a member of the percussion section.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève spoke with WRTI’s Susan Lewis last year about his three-year appointment with the Orchestra - "a dream come true," he says.

Stephane Deneve discusses Peter and the Wolf:

Born in North Carolina in 1926, saxophone player and composer John Coltrane spent over a decade in Philadelphia and then moved to New York. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the impact of Coltrane, who expanded the boundaries of jazz with a wide range of styles. 

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.

Radio Script:

Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, would have turned 100 on April 7, 2015. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in her short career, this Philadelphia-born singer made a huge impact on jazz and American song.

Pages