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.

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Creatively Speaking
3:14 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Once Disdained, Now Acclaimed: Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Although Russian pianist, composer and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff became an international star, his first symphony was considered a failure when it premiered in 1897, and was not performed again during the composer’s lifetime. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today it’s regarded much differently. 

On Sunday Nov 23, 2014, on WRTI,  the Philadelphia Orchestra performs Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1. 

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Creatively Speaking
3:57 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Yannick Shares The Hidden Meaning in Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony

Richard Strauss finished composing AN ALPINE SYMPHONY in 1915. It's scored for an enormous orchestra with 16 horns, two timpani, organ, and multiple percussion, including thunder and wind machines.

Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony is, on one level, a musical description of nature. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the accessible music belies a greater meaning.

Based on a boyhood experience getting caught in a storm hiking in the Alps, the idea for An Alpine Symphony germinated for years in Strauss’s mind.  It wasn’t until after Gustav Mahler died, that he determined to finish the work, which he regarded as a tribute to his fellow composer.

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Creatively Speaking
7:18 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Stephen Hough on Tchaikovsky: Finding New Inspiration from an Old Master

Pianist Stephen Hough

Concert pianist Stephen Hough also composes, writes articles for an online publication, and likes to paint.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the internationally renowned soloist continues to find fresh inspiration in the great masterworks.

Stephen Hough is soloist on WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast - Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm.  Tune in to hear Hough play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Philadelphians.

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Creatively Speaking
11:00 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Losing His Head in the Opera, Salome: Bass-Baritone Alan Held

In Richard Strauss' SALOME, the character depicting John the Baptist is beheaded after he refuses the advances of Salome.

It was a Bible story, and then a French play by Oscar Wilde. Then it was translated into German, before Strauss turned it into his opera, Salome. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a production from May, 2014 continued the evolution of this complex and compelling work of art.

On Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 1 pm on WRTI, listen to a recorded broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia performing Richard Strauss' Salome.

Creatively Speaking
6:30 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Soprano Camilla Nylund: Singing SALOME Throughout The World

Lyric dramatic soprano Camilla Nylund, a native of Finland, singing Salome with Opera Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Orchestra in May, 2014.
Dominic Mercier

Oscar Wilde’s late 19th-century play, retelling the biblical story of Salome, became the basis for Richard Strauss' one-act opera SALOME that premiered in Dresden in 1905. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the opera continues to shock and dazzle, nearly a century later.

WRTI re-broadcasts The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia in a joint production of Salome, with Camilla Nylund in the title role, on Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm.

Creatively Speaking
6:07 am
Mon October 20, 2014

The Legacy of Jazz Singer and Pianist Shirley Horn

Jazz singer Shirley Horn (1934-2005)

 

Known for her distinctive singing, which she did most often from the keyboard, Shirley Horn studied classical music before turning to jazz in the 1950s.  In the early '60s she caught the attention of Miles  Davis, and then her career started to take off.

Philadelphia-based singer Phyllis Chapell spoke with WRTI's Susan Lewis about how her own approach to music changed when she began listening to Shirley Horn, beginning with the song, "Here’s to Life."

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Creatively Speaking
11:39 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Mozart's Musical Mysteries with 19-Year-Old Superstar Pianist Jan Lisiecki

Polish/Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki was Gramophone Magazine's 2013 Young Artist of the Year.

Among Mozart’s hundreds of compositions are 27 piano concertos. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the young pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is making his mark today, is drawn to their musical purity, emotional complexity, and sense of fun.

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Creatively Speaking
11:36 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Taking Jazz to Spiritual Settings

The Jazz Sanctuary at Gloria Dei Church in South Philly.

The Jazz Sanctuary is an organization that takes jazz into houses of worship and other nontraditional venues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, founder Alan Segal says jazz and the spiritual community drove his recovery from a life-threatening crisis.

The Jazz Sanctuary presents concerts open to the public at houses of worship and other non-profit venues. Information about upcoming concerts.

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Creatively Speaking
11:13 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Finding New Dimensions in Chamber Music

Dolce Suono's repertoire spans a range of works from Baroque to contemporary, for two to 11 musicians, with various combinations of instruments.

Chamber music, played by small ensembles, one player to a part, and without a conductor, is an intimate and engaging art form. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, it can also provide insight into history and human emotions.  

For flutist and music historian Mimi Stillman, chamber music is a way to explore important issues "that illuminate how people thought at a given time."

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Creatively Speaking
6:36 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Going Strong: Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

PCMS presents Belcea Quartet on October 17th at 8 pm at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater.

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (PCMS) has been feeding the growing musical appetites of music lovers for decades with increasing numbers of concerts. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, PCMS grew out of the celebrated Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, where gifted classical musicians have been playing chamber music since 1951.

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