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!

Born in North Carolina in 1926, saxophone player and composer John Coltrane spent over a decade in Philadelphia and then moved to New York. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the impact of Coltrane, who expanded the boundaries of jazz with a wide range of styles.

While jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, and died in New York, he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 90 this month.

It’s back to school time, and for some, back to music lessons.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, music education is a particular passion of international superstar, pianist Lang Lang.

 

In 1930, The Philadelphia Orchestra gave a successful U.S. premiere of the 10th symphony of a revered Russian composer—Nikolai Miaskovsky—sometimes called "The Father of the Soviet Symphony." As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work and the composer, both little known in America in today, are being championed by one of today's leading conductors.

Jerry Stoll / Monterey Jazz Festival

You won’t find a blue-ribbon pie at this northern California fairground this weekend. But the place will be filled with multiple stages and wall-to-wall music. Here's Meridee Duddleston's take on the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Credit: Sebastian Petsu

Tours of Philadelphia usually are about distant history more than cutting-edge music. But the Double Decker Music Series puts the two together on summertime Sunday nights; it made The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns experience familiar sights anew.

Decades ago, jazz on television may have been restricted to the occasional theme song or even an appearance by Ella Fitzgerald on a talk show. But, as WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports, someone else now joins the big names of the past. Singer/saxophonist Grace Kelly has a name from the silver screen, but jazz has always been her main attraction. This year, jazz has propelled her into the spotlight.

Credit: Cheryl Mazak

WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked to Pinchas Zukerman and found that his career has been defined not only by the violin, the viola, and conducting, but also by one important element: his friends. 

The Philadelphia-based tenor sax player and composer Odean Pope is known worldwide in jazz circles for his impeccable artistry and for his Saxophone Choir. He's had a steady gig at the Blue Note in NYC for many years, and is a longtime soloist with the Max Roach Quartet.

The symphony, as we know it today, underwent major changes from the end of the 18th to the late 19th century. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, two symphonies from two composers in Vienna during that time illustrate the range of the form.
 


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