Arts Desk

Listen to WRTI's Arts Desk features for a daily look into the world of music, arts, and culture. Listen to brief features throughout the day!

This year’s One Book One Philadelphia selection is Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain.  From now until March 30th, the Free Library will host a series of reading groups, lectures, cooking classes and more as part of this mass reading event. This year, One Book coincides with the East Coast premiere of the opera, Cold Mountain, adding a musical dimension to its literary litany. 

WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, February 7 at 1 pm features several works of a celebrated Russian composer, conductor and pianist who had a close relationship with the ensemble. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the concert will be led by someone with connections of his own to the music and the man.

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.

The recording industry gives out the GRAMMY Awards, and WRTI’s Kile Smith looks at the classical categories, which include some local names.


Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera

Opera Philadelphia is presenting the East Coast premiere of Jennifer Hidgon's first opera, Cold Mountain. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, the opera adds another dimension to the Civil War story from the critically acclaimed novel by Charles Frazier.

Cold Mountain opens Friday, February 5th and runs through Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.


The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is making a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center on January 26th to perform an opera that few have ever heard live - L'amore dei tre re - (The Love of the Three Kings.) The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out about the opera, and why AVA has been longing to perform it. 

The late Eartha Kitt’s strength, vulnerability, and sensuality inspired singer/songwriter René Marie’s 2014 Grammy-nominated album, I Wanna be Evil, With Love to Eartha Kitt.  Marie knows firsthand the risks of setting a new course in life.  When she was in her 40s, she quit her day job at a bank to devote herself to singing and composing fulltime. It was a decision that was not without repercussions. And about a year later, her marriage ended.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is now known as a classical music giant. But in 1866, he was a young man who had switched careers and was tackling his very first symphony. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this early work – titled by the composer, Winter Daydreams.

On Sunday, January 31st, 2016 on WRTI, listen to Gianandrea Noseda leading The Philadelphia Orchestra in a November, 2015 performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1.

Radio Script:

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1

Among Wolfgang Amadeus 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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