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!

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.

When it's time to celebrate, no music expresses the joy of life like klezmer. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder takes us into klezmer's rich world and heritage. This Sunday, February 19 at 8 pm, you can hear the Philadelphia Klezmer Heritage Ensemble, directed by Hankus Netsky, at Temple Beth Sholom in Elkins Park.

Rossini’s Tancredi is seldom heard, so opera audiences may only be curious. But the singers can’t wait, and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns tells why. Stephanie Blythe sings the title role in Opera Philadelphia's production of Tancredi on Feb. 15, 17, and 19.

Keyon Harrold; credit: Deneka Peniston

The virtuosity of the legendary Miles Davis speaks through another trumpeter who follows him in tune and time. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston talks with the musician behind the sound in the 2016 biopic, Miles Ahead, which won a 2017 Grammy Award.

Classical composer Michael Daugherty, who won two 2017 Grammy Awards, writes music about ideas, people, and places from popular culture. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his works invite listeners to engage with the music through their own experiences.


Dominic Mercier

Oscar Wilde’s late 19th-century play, retelling the biblical story of Salome, became the basis for Richard Strauss' one-act opera SALOME that premiered in Dresden in 1905. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the opera continues to shock and dazzle, nearly a century later.

Born in New York City to Jewish-German immigrants, Lorenz Hart penned some of Broadway’s most haunting, sophisticated lyrics. He began collaborating with composer Richard Rodgers when he was 24 and Rodgers 17.

The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
 


This year’s One Book, One Philadelphia features the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon. There’s a musical analog to this imaginative tale; Curtis Institute of Music Post-Bacc composition student and Rhodes Scholar Nick DiBerardino read the book and conjured a piece for percussion. His composition "Homunculus" premiered on January 25th at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Parkway Central Library.

The great Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25th, 1917, and sadly she died in 1996. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, "The Queen of Jazz" - also called "The First Lady of Song," left a lasting legacy on American song and jazz.

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