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

According to Middle Eastern legend, Scheherazade saved her own life by telling her husband, the Sultan,  folk tales for A Thousand and One Nights. Those stories-within a-story inspired 19th-century composer Rimsky-Korsakov to create an orchestral suite that remains one of his most popular works today.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

PHL Live, a new Philadelphia city government initiative now in its second year, aims to recognize musical talent in the region with a contest spanning 10 different genres, from classical and jazz to pop. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the jazz ensemble, The Vibe Plus Five. The band came in first place in PHL Live's jazz genre in 2014.


Moravian composer Leos Janacek, who died in 1928 at the age of 74, wrote many of his most highly regarded works in the last dozen years of his life. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his monumental Mass is striking in its structure, size, rhythms, and tone, not to mention its use of an ancient text.

Jazz trumpeter, composer, poet, and community activist Hannibal Lokumbe noticed early in life that music had the power to change people's lives. He took up trumpet, and after college, moved to New York City, where he played with jazz greats Gil Evans, Roy Haynes, and Cecil Taylor, among others.

In Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Orchestra premiere of his "spiritatorio" - One Land, One River, One People, Hannibal is also taking music and conversation into different parts of the community.

Every great piece of music has a story behind it. Telling those stories and performing those works has become an all-consuming career and a popular concert format for pianist Jeffery Siegel.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Siegel's Keyboard Conversations.


There are very few tuba concertos in the classical repertoire - Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1954 work is among a handful. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new addition explores the largely untapped lyricism of the instrument.   


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.


Conrad Tao has been playing music for close to two decades – and he’s only 21. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this pianist and composer, who now has over a dozen compositions, a busy career performing throughout the world, and a position as artist-in-residence at the Dallas Symphony.


Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.

On Sunday, November 1st at 1 pm on WRTI, Lisa Batiashvili performs Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast.


Music from a popular symphonic piece played a memorable role in the 1968 Hollywood film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, those famous opening bars are only the beginning of a work that continues to engage and intrigue audiences.

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