Saturday Classics

Saturday, 6 am to 12 noon

Treat yourself to a delightful variety of classical music every Saturday morning with host Debra Lew Harder. You'll hear works encompassing a wide range of time periods and instrumentation— from the Renaissance to new American classical music—from a gentle waltz to a bright piano sonata—from old favorites to something new.

If you’re drawn to vocal acrobatics, the fifth broadcast from Lyric Opera of Chicago's radio series—Vincenzo Bellini's NORMA—will thrill and astonish you. You'll hear it this Saturday, June 24th at 1 pm!

Join us for a re-broadcast of a Philadelphia Orchestra concert from 2016 that brings us two Philadelphia Orchestra commissions—Maurice Wright’s Resounding Drums, a timpani concerto composed for the Orchestra’s principal timpanist Don Liuzzi, and the Clarinet Concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff, composed for the principal clarinetist of the Philadelphians, Ricardo Morales.

Jan Regan/Philadelphia Orchestra

On the stage of China's National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing—just a month ago—Yannick Nézet-Séguin, stood before his Philadelphia Orchestra and spoke to an audience that included sponsors, patrons, musicians, diplomats, Chinese government officials and business leaders, as well as delegations from Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

When the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned Jonathan Leshnoff to write a concerto for principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales, the composer realized a connection between the clarinet and...the Hebrew alphabet. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explains.


The Philadelphia Museum of Art; Bequest of Charles C. Willis, 1956

Composer and conductor Dirk Brossé has written a new composition based on American paintings from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first movement musically re-interprets a beloved folk painting by a Quaker artist, with the help of some unusual instruments.

It's a special three-hour Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast, on Sunday at 1 pm and Monday night at 7 pm on HD-2, capturing highlights of the Orchestra’s three-day Rachmaninoff Festival at the end of April.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The George W. Elkins Collection, 1924

If you love both visual art and music, tune in this Sunday, June 18th at 5 pm to hear the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia perform the world premiere of Music Director Dirk Brossé’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Each of the seven movements was inspired by a different American painting from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder talked with Dirk Brossé, who also conducts the performance, about his piece. Here’s an edited excerpt from the interview.

Sergei Rachmaninoff was so distressed by the negative reaction to the 1897 premiere of his first symphony, he stopped composing for nearly three years. What restored his confidence to compose his much-loved Piano Concerto No.2? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story.

Symphonies and concertos are composed to be performed in their entirety, but sometimes individual movements take on lives of their own. WRTI’s Susan Lewis considers the slow movement of Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto with violinist Joshua Bell.

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