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
6:05 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Elizabeth Hainen: Spreading Her Love Of The Harp

Elizabeth Hainen visits harp students at Philadelphia's St. Francis de Sales school.

Philadelphia Orchestra harpist Elizabeth Hainen speaks with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

The harp is one of the world’s oldest instruments. And now, thanks to the efforts of Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Harpist Elizabeth Hainen, concert grand harps are once again being played in Philadelphia schools.

As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Hainen is the driving force behind The Lyra Society, an organization she founded in 2004 to promote the harp through new commissions and lessons in the Philadelphia schools.

The Lyra Society presents A Harpist's Homecoming, with Philadelphia students and former Boston Symphony Principal Harp Ann Hobson Pilot, on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 6 pm at Philadelphia High School for Girls at Broad and Olney Streets. Information here.

Listen to Elizabeth Hainen's interview with Susan Lewis about nurturing the next generation of Philadelphia harpists.

Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Travel Through Time with PIFA

The PIFA Time Machine at the Kimmel Center

The second Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, or PIFA 2013, opened on March 28th.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Kimmel Center Plaza is once again be its hub - this time, with a giant Time Machine, and a number of free events. Kimmel Center President Anne Ewers says the festival highlights the Center's role as a public gathering space.

The city festival features music, theater, dance, and other activities staged by over 50 PIFA partners.   

A number of free events will take place on the Kimmel’s Commonwealth Plaza, including Friday at noon concerts, late-night jazz, and a musical production Tuesday through Sunday nights.  The 31-day festival ends with a public day-long fair on Broad Street on April 27th.

Watch a video featuring PIFA partners talking about their work and the idea of time travel.

Creatively Speaking
11:30 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Golf: Painting It & Playing It In Victorian Britain

The Golfers, 1847, by Charles Lees. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 84 1/4 inches (130.8 x 214 cm). Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The modern game of golf comes from Scotland, where in the mid 19th century it also became a subject for artists. WRTI’s Susan Lewis considers the relationship between art and golf in Victorian Great Britain, as a Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition spotlights an 1847 masterwork: The Golfers. Museum Curator of European Painting Before 1900 Jennifer Thompson says the large painting is one of the most celebrated in the genre.

The Art of Golf runs through July 7th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Listen to Curator Jennifer Thompson discuss the early intersection of art and golf with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Creatively Speaking
7:36 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

The Monumental St. Matthew Passion: Bach in Philadelphia

For the first time in almost 30 years, The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The monumental oratorio fell into obscurity for decades after Bach's death in 1750. Composer Felix Mendelssohn's production of the work in 1829 helped spark the modern Bach revival. Susan Lewis considers Bach’s life and work.

On March 28th through 30th, The Philadelphia Orchestra performs the uncut Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with costumes and dramatic lighting at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

Temple University Music Professor Steven Zohn speaks with Susan Lewis about Bach’s life.

Musicians' Memories
12:21 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Wolfgang Sawallisch Remembered

Musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra remember Wolfgang Sawallisch in this tribute. Susan Lewis speaks with violinists Davyd Booth and Jonathan Beiler, cellists Gloria de Pasquale, Kathy Reed, and Richard Harlow, and bassoonist Mark Gigliotti.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is mourning the loss of its conductor laureate, Wolfgang Sawallisch, who served as the ensemble's sixth music director from 1993 until 2003. He passed away on February 22, 2013 at his home in Grassau, Germany at age 89.

The maestro guest conducted all over the world, and had previously led the Opera Theater of Augsburg, the Vienna Symphony, L'orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Hamburg Philharmonic, and for more than two decades, the Bavarian State Opera. He was also a gifted pianist, playing chamber music and filling in for The Philadelphia Orchestra itself during an ice storm when an all-Wagner with singers was scheduled.

Susan Lewis  profiles the maestro, focusing on his Philadelphia years,  speaking with Philadelphia Orchestra violinists Davyd Booth and Jonathan Beiler, cellists Gloria de Pasquale, Kathy Reed, and Richard Harlow, and bassoonist Mark Gigliotti about their memories of the Sawallisch years.

Where Music Lives
4:36 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Where Music Lives: Chris' Jazz Cafe in Center City, Philadelphia

Once home to jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane, Philadelphia still has a committed jazz contingent. WRTI's Susan Lewis talked with Christ Dhimitri and Mark DeNinno, past and present owners of Chris’ Jazz Café, an active jazz club in Center City.

Listen to Chris' Jazz Cafe founder Christ Dhimitri talk with Susan Lewis about role of clubs in keeping the jazz scene vibrant.

Let us know Where Music Lives in your community! Add your ideas in the comments section here and check out our other Where Music Lives posts.

Creatively Speaking
9:07 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

The Pines of Rome: A Musical Portrait

Born in Bologna in 1879, Italian violinist, violist, conductor and composer Ottorino Respighi moved to Rome in 1913.  He became internationally recognized for his trilogy of symphonic poems celebrating the  fountains, pines, and festivals of the city.

WRTI's Susan Lewis considers The Pines of Rome, performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra. She spoke with organist Michael Stairs and Associate Principal Clarinet Samuel Caviezel. 

Listen to Michael Stairs' and Samuel Caviezel's interviews with Susan Lewis as part of the Intermission Features during The Philadelphia Orchestra concert broadcast on WRTI on Sunday, March 24th at 2 pm.

Creatively Speaking
2:16 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Hummel's Trumpet Concerto: A Celebration of the Instrument

While there are many concertos for string instruments, fewer works exist for woodwinds, brass or percussion. Yet, as Susan Lewis reports, a previously under-performed work for trumpet from the early 19th century became part of the standard repertoire in the second half of the 20th. 

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Trumpet David Bilger plays the Hummel Trumpet Concerto in The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcast on Sunday, March 17th at 2 pm.

*Listen to a more in-depth conversation with David Bilger during the Intermission of the Orchestra's concert broadcast on Sunday, March 17th.

Creatively Speaking
5:24 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Mandy Patinkin and Intercultural Journeys: Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding

Mandy Patinkin

Now in its 10th season, Intercultural Journeys is an organization that seeks to foster greater communication and peace between people of diverse faiths and conflicting cultures through world-class performances in music, dance and the spoken word.

Founded by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David, the group has drawn artists from all over the world, including stage, film, and television star Mandy Patinkin.

Mr. Patinkin performs with Intercultural Journeys' Middle Eastern Ensemble on Sunday, March 17th, 3 pm at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia.

More from Mandy Patinkin on his belief in the power of music and art to make a difference in the world in an interview with Susan Lewis.

Creatively Speaking
6:55 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Ars Nova Workshop: Keeping Jazz and Experimental Music Alive in Philadelphia

Billy Hart Quartet, featuring Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Ethan Iverson: piano; Ben Street: bass; Billy Hart: drums

Ars Nova means “New Art,” and for over a dozen years, Ars Nova Workshop has been presenting musicians performing jazz and experimental music in Philadelphia. Susan Lewis reports on how promoting new music is in keeping with the City's rich musical history. 

Coming up on Wednesday, March 20th at 8 pm...Ars Nova Workshop presents The Billy Hart Quartet at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on Rittenhouse Square in Center City, Philadelphia.

Ars Nova Workshop founder Mark Christman talks with Susan Lewis about his goal to bring more jazz and experimental music from around the world to a host of Philadelphia venues.