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

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. 

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.