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!

Some college students graduate this month and start the New Year on their own. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston looked in on a local music major about to do just that.

Credit: Felix Broede

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a highly educated member of the Russian elite. But it’s his connection with folk tunes and the countryside that especially touches one of today’s young classical stars. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

The play Black Nativity by Langston Hughes opened in New York in 1961, and was adapted for film in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia is staging another version of this Christmas story, set in Darfur. Black Nativity: An African Holiday Musical is at the New Freedom Theatre at 1346 North Broad Street in Philadelphia through December 18th.

Credit: Dirty Sugar Photography

All over Broadway, on ads for the new musical Dear Evan Hansen , is the catchphrase "#you will be found." But it isn’t a warning; it’s a promise, an assurance to lost high-schoolers who feel unheard and unseen. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns talks with the show's TONY/EMMY-nominated songwriting duo Benj Pasek (an Ardmore native) and Justin Paul , best friends from their days at the University of Michigan.

You can take a bus or car to the historic mansions of Fairmount Park this holiday season, but in the past a sleigh would have carried you there. Here’s WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston on the sights you may have seen along the way. On Saturday, December 3rd, WRTI hosts will be appearing at this year’s Fairmount Park Historic Home Holiday Tour for "Sounds of the Season."

What instrument has been used to conjure a shepherd’s horn as well as a human cry of despair? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the oddly named, but evocative, English horn.

Credit: Andrew Joos

The music of that legendary Rat Pack trio Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. is being revived in Manayunk by a show biz collective known as The Summer Club . The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns finds out what’s shaking.

A new book looks into the tunes that put the "roar" in "The Roaring Twenties." WRTI's Susan Lewis spoke with the author of Tunes of the Twenties and All That Jazz: The Stories Behind the Songs.

Music lives in Center City, Philadelphia, home of Play On, Philly! , a program modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema , in which underserved children are taught to play classical music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the program is as much about social change as it is about music. On Giving Tuesday, your pledge to WRTI will be matched by an anonymous donor in support of Play On, Philly! Pledge Here , and thanks so much!

Since it opened its doors in 1913, the Apollo Theater has survived a series of iterations, closures, renovations, and shifts in direction. Its allure as a venue for jazz began in the 1930s with the debut of Jazz a la Carte , a show with an all-black cast.

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