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!

A recent recording of an opera that premiered in 1937 shines a light on a Polish composer. He survived the Holocaust, but emerged from hiding only to shun his earlier success. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Joseph Beer.

Credit: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera, 2017

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been entering the Metropolitan Opera through the backstage artists' entrance for years, though now it’s different: He’s now among those who run the place. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns met him there prior to his April to May run of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman.

Jon Batiste on TV, in the Community, and in Philadelphia

Apr 25, 2017

A supercharged jazz musician has entered the public eye in a huge way. Jon Batiste leads the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He traveled to Philadelphia for the kickoff of Jazz Appreciation Month and spoke with WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston.

Despite being a Polish Jew, 17-year-old aspiring composer Joseph Beer won admission in 1925 to the prestigious Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, which had a quota for both Jews and Poles. He was also allowed to skip the first four years of the curriculum to study composition in master classes, and went on to graduate with highest honors.

It was 1930, two years before Hitler became chancellor of Germany.

He won the 2015 Grammy award for "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" for his album, Play, and he collaborates with musicians in a wide variety of styles. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on classical guitar virtuoso Jason Vieaux.


Credit: GDLoft

J.S. Bach wrote hundreds of sacred cantatas for voices and orchestra on liturgical texts. One season in Bach’s life reveals some of the cantatas he thought would endure through generations.

Credit: William P. Gottlieb

A romantic ballad launched one career, revived another, and became a beloved standard for generations of musicians. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Thelonious Monk's " ‘Round Midnight." The work was recorded first in 1944—but not by Monk.


Conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s life has been fueled by music for over eight decades. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he says an early listening experience was the spark.

What Is a Fugue?

Apr 16, 2017

You don’t need to know anything about classical music to love it. But a deeper understanding of its rich history and context can add something special to your listening experience. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston takes us on this short flight of the fugue, which reached the height of its popularity in the Baroque period.

Thomas Lloyd has directed the choirs at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges in the suburbs of Philadelphia for over two decades. While teaching his students a wide range of repertoire, his focus has been to show—firsthand—what music means in other parts of the world.

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