Arts Desk

Throughout the week

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!

Three bagpipers from the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes & Drums join The Philadelphia Orchestra this week in performances of Maxwell Davies’ An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise.

Two composers—working centuries apart—come together in Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story about what became one of Vaughn Williams' most successful orchestral works.

The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service is the largest event of its kind in the country.  Volunteers spread out across the region to perform all kinds of service projects. Thousands converge on the campus of Girard College for a full slate of activities, including a job fair.

In 1925, George Gershwin was known for his popular songs, Broadway music, and his Rhapsody in Blue. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he then tackled another classical form with his Piano Concerto in F.

It was only five years ago. Phoenix Best was 19 years old and selling tickets to Les Misérables as part of her job at Ticket Philadelphia when she went to see the musical for the first time.


Music, spectacular costumes, and strutting down Broad Street? It must be New Year's Day in Philadelphia with the Mummers Parade!

J.S. Bach’s unconventional Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachts-Oratorium), composed in 1733 and 1734, is less known than his other major works, and it showcases the composer's innovation and resourcefulness. WRTI's Susan Lewis reports.

Handel’s Messiah, originally composed for performance during the springtime Christian observance of Lent, has become a contemporary staple of Christmas celebrations in modern America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this 18th-century oratorio.

Today, The Nutcracker ballet is as much a Christmas tradition as eggnog, jingle bells, and mistletoe. But centuries ago – long before a nutcracker appeared on stage – miners in the rural Ore Mountain region of Germany began carving the ubiquitous household statuettes. The whimsical, dual-purpose figurines were toys that inspired children's play, and tools that cracked nuts for all.

The legendary Broadway musical writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II produced their final show together, The Sound of Music, nine months before Hammerstein passed away of cancer. Yet throughout all the songs of the show, there’s a great sense of hope and optimism.

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