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

[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.

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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.

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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. 

Competitions have tested serious music students for decades. They also have prompted the composition of works that continue to enrich the repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Claude Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Orchestra.

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Susan Lewis: Its ethereal quality belies its difficulty, but Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano was composed for clarinet graduation exams at the Paris Conservatory.

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. 

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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.

Access to great music is critical in developing a love of the art form and its traditions. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, that's a premise of a collaboration between the English Chamber Orchestra and Musicopia, an organization that brings music to young people, especially in areas without other music programs. 

Twentieth-century composer Igor Stravinsky was at first reluctant to accept a commission for a violin concerto because he didn’t know the instrument well enough. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he changed his mind after consulting the intended violinist – who was game to try an unusual approach.  

On Sunday, January 18, 2015 on WRTI, Juliette Kang and The Philadelphia Orchestra play Stravinsky’s violin concerto in a program that also features music by Brahms and Respighi.

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Adrian Siegel Collection / The Philadelphia Orchestra Archives

Born in Germany in 1946, Andre Watts moved to Philadelphia with his Hungarian mother and American father when he was 8 years old. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, after decades of performing, the celebrated pianist still finds new inspiration and challenges in the music. 

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