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

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.

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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.

J.S. Bach’s masterpieces, well-known to many listeners, include his Mass in B minor, the Goldberg Variations, and The Well-Tempered Clavier. However, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Baroque composer also wrote hundreds of lesser-known, short, vocal works with instrumental accompaniment, which are now the focus of a Philadelphia Bach Cantata series, called "Bach@ 7." The series features informal, one-hour long, pay-as-you-wish live concerts played on period instruments - modeled after similar series in Europe and New York.

The next "Bach@7" concert: Wednesday, April 8th at St. Clement's Church, 20th and Cherry streets.
 

J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is a monumental oratorio that fell into obscurity for decades after Bach's death in 1750. Composer Felix Mendelssohn's production of the work in 1829 helped spark the modern Bach revival. Susan Lewis considers Bach’s life and work.

Curtis Graduate, Chinese Pianist Yuja Wang performs all over the world. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the young classical star embraces traditional and contemporary culture.

The largest member of an orchestra’s brass section was invented in the 1830s to play low and powerful notes. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the tuba has a surprising range and versatility. Susan spoke with Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch for some insight into the world of the tuba.

Jantsch's recordings include her 2009 solo album, Cascades, and Reflections on the Mississippi, a new CD featuring a tuba concerto written by Michael Daugherty for Jantsch and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra.

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, March 29, 2015 at 1 pm as Kirill Gerstein performs Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

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Hungarian pianist and composer Bela Bartok was born on March 25th in the year 1881. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he is revered by a prominent contemporary composer who is building on Bartok’s legacy.

Tan Dun's Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women was premiered in the U.S. by The Philadelphia Orchestra this season, and broadcast on WRTI in December, 2013.

J.S. Bach would turn 320 years old this month. And contemporary musicians continue to mine riches from his music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, award-winning violinist Gil Shaham finds Bach connections in everything he plays.

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Adrian Siegel Collection/Philadelphia Orchestra Association Archives

It was 88 years ago - on March 18, 1927 - that The Philadelphia Orchestra played the first performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 at the Academy of Music. The composer revised the concerto in 1928. And, in 1941, The Philadelphians premiered yet another revised version - the final one.

As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the strong bond between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Russian composer, pianist, and conductor was forged through this and other works.

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