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

Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives
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.

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.

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.

    

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).

[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:

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.  

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. 

Amanda Hall Studios

The strings are the largest section of a symphony orchestra, and communicating among them to create a unified sound involves the conductor, the  concertmaster, and another pivotal player. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Juliette Kang about her position as associate concertmaster, and the lure of her instrument. 

On WRTI's  broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra this Sunday, May 12th at 2 pm, Juliette Kang will lead the strings in a program featuring Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, for string orchestra, and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.

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.

On Monday, February 2, 2015, WRTI's Bob Perkins celebrates these two jazz greats with a special show. 

Englishman Bramwell Tovey is an accomplished pianist, composer and conductor. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he’s also upbeat about the power of music to reach people of all ages. 

Radio script:

Susan Lewis: Bramwell Tovey says Beethoven speaks directly to kids.

Bramwell Tovey: Beethoven’s the rock star of classical composers.

SL: Music director of the Vancouver Symphony, Tovey is also artistic director of the symphony’s own music school.

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