Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Reporter

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes weekly features to Creatively Speaking with Jim Cotter, produces arts news, and works as a news anchor.

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.


Creatively Speaking
9:38 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

Memories of Wolfgang Sawallisch: On Tour And At Home

Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923—2013)

The Philadelphia Orchestra wraps up its subscription season this week with a special tribute to Wolfgang Sawallisch, who died on February 22, 2013.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Orchestra's former music director and conductor laureate shared his musical gifts with audiences at home and abroad, leading the orchestra on eight international tours.

Listen to reflections about Sawallisch (playing chamber music and enjoying musical jokes) from Philadelphia Orchestra musicians Davyd Booth, Gloria de Pasquale, and Richard Harlow.

Listen to reflections about Sawallisch (on the podium in Philadelphia and on tour) from Philadelphia Orchestra musicians Kathryn Picht Read, Jonathan Beiler, and Mark Gigliotti.

Creatively Speaking
3:36 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Serious Classical Music Plus Comedy?

Sir Simon Rattle

Orchestra concerts don't usually leave people laughing.  But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, some contemporary composers are combining serious music with comedy. Berlin Philharmonic Music Director Sir Simon Rattle is introducing innovative works to audiences in Germany, and brings an example with him in his upcoming visit to Philadelphia.

On May 16th, 18th and 19th, Maestro Rattle conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in a program that includes the music of Beethoven, Ligeti, Webern, and Berg.

Listen to Maestro Rattle’s interview with Susan from 2012, when he looked ahead to this visit in Philadelphia.

Creatively Speaking
9:16 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

The Mystery and Allure of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos

J. S. Bach (1685—1750)

Today, J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are among the most popular pieces from the Baroque era. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores the mystery in the story of the famous concertos.   

On Sunday, May 19th, WRTI will broadcast The Philadelphia Orchestra performing three of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, his Double Violin Concerto, and his Orchestral Suite No. 3.

Listen to Susan’s interview with Temple University Music Professor Steven Zohn about the mystery and ongoing appeal of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

Creatively Speaking
6:02 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

Helping The Violins Sing: Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang

Violinist Juliette Kang
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.

Listen to Susan Lewis’ interview with Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang.

Creatively Speaking
6:03 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Tchaikovsky!

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840—1893)

This week we mark the birthday of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was born in Russia on May 7, 1840 and died suddenly at age 53. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the composer -  internationally renowned for his great melodies - was also a master of  technique and form. His body of work includes major works for the ballet, opera, and orchestra, as well as chamber music, concertos, sacred music, piano music, and solo songs.   

Learn more about Tchaikovsky’s life and music. Listen to Susan Lewis' interview with Jeffrey Kallberg, associate dean for arts and letters and professor of music history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Creatively Speaking
6:05 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Jazz Vocalist Phyllis Chapell: Using Music to Promote Clean Water

Phyllis Chapell

A Philadelphia-area jazz singer, who interprets songs in many languages, is also drawing attention to environmental issues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Phyllis Chapell finds that music is a way to reach people on many levels.

Susan’s interview with Phylliss Chapell.

Information about Phyllis Chapell's upcoming live performances in the region.

The short film, AEIOU-Water, is shown Sundays at the Fairmount Water Works.   

Creatively Speaking
6:04 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Russian Choral Music: A Century Of Change

Russian choral music developed over centuries - informed by tradition, the state, the church, and eventually other parts of the world. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, this month, The Philadelphia Singers contrasts the works of two Russian masters, who created their sacred choral music over a century apart.

The Philadelphia Singers performs selections from Tchaikovsky’s 1878 Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, together with Alfred Schnittke's Choir Concerto, written in 1984-85, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City, Philadelphia on Sunday April 28th. Information here.

Philadelphia Singers Assistant Conductor Brian Schkeeper discusses some of the core concepts behind these two Russian sacred works with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Creatively Speaking
1:54 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Discovering Philadelphia's Neighborhoods

clockwise from top left: Baltimore Ave by J. Fusco, Penn Park by G. Widman, Christian Street by R. Kennedy, and Penn Treaty Park by M. Kennedy

A new Philadelphia tourism initiative is encouraging visitors and residents alike to explore restaurants, galleries, culture, and nightlife in neighborhoods just beyond Center City. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the campaign by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, or GPTMC, paints portraits of nearby neighborhoods that are attracting visitors.

A new section of GPTMC's website is devoted to 14 neighborhoods, with maps, videos, and social media integration. Check it out here!

GPTMC Executive Director Meryl Levitz talks with Susan Lewis about discovering arts, culture, and more in neighborhoods beyond Center City.

Creatively speaking
6:02 am
Mon April 8, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra Gets Romantic

WRTI’s concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra on Sunday, April 14th features the music of two Romantic Viennese masters.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with concertmaster David Kim about how the symphonies of Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner bring out the famous Philadelphia sound, and about the interpretation of guest conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi.  

Listen to this Sunday’s WRTI concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra, which will include an interview at Intermission with concertmaster David Kim. 

Creatively Speaking
10:02 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Mozart and Beethoven, Dohnanyi and Philadelphia

Maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi

WRTI will broadcast a Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Mozart and Beethoven this Sunday, highlighting some musical connections between these two masters.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, on the podium will be Christoph von Dohnanyi who has a longtime connection with the Philadelphians.