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!

After a poor performance by a sick tenor, a 19th-century opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet languished in an Italian archive for over 130 years. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to the curiosity and perseverance of a contemporary conductor, the work has new life. 


Mat Hennek / DG

Unlocking the secrets in music is a joyful enterprise for pianist Helene Grimaud. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Grimaud’s approach to music and life. On Sunday, May 8th at 1 PM on WRTI, Helene Grimaud performs Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

The late Eartha Kitt’s strength, vulnerability, and sensuality inspired singer/songwriter René Marie’s 2014 Grammy-nominated album, I Wanna be Evil, With Love to Eartha Kitt.  Marie knows firsthand the risks of setting a new course in life.  When she was in her 40s, she quit her day job at a bank to devote herself to singing and composing fulltime. It was a decision that was not without repercussions. And about a year later, her marriage ended.

For a musician, the words “sanctuary,” “retreat,” and “haven” suggest attractive possibilities for creative expression. The Jazz Residency Program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts isn’t based on the isolation these places evoke, but it does provide an environment conducive to a creative stream. The program is aimed at local jazz artists who can write music.

Exploring Passover's Musical History

Apr 29, 2016

This week, Passover is being celebrated by millions of the Jewish faith. And while the Christian holiday of Easter has inspired Bach's Saint Matthew Passion and many other beloved classical works, Passover claims no famous pieces in the concert repertoire. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explores why.

Sharon Torello

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, founded in 1874, is a largely volunteer chorus of about 140 members.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, its new artistic director taps into the joy of singing to celebrate the past, present, and future of choral music.


In 2011, the Philadelphia-based, South-Africa born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lipke released his fourth album, The Plague, with much fanfare, including a live interview and performance on WHYY's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, and lots of coverage on WXPN.  Fast forward to 2015, when he's approached by Matthew Glandorf, artistic director of Choral Arts Philadelphia, with an idea.

Barry Lively

The Choral Arts Philadelphia concert series, Bach@7, has a new modern name on its May 4th concert program: Andrew Lipke — a singer/guitarist better known at local pop music clubs — in his new oratorio titled The Plague. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports how contagious it might be. 

Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, was posthumously inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame on October 26th.  Lady Day would have turned 100 on April 7, 2015

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is performed by orchestras everywhere. But not everyone has heard the original jazz band version, composed for a 1924 experimental concert that blurred the boundaries between jazz and classical music. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.


Pages