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.

What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration? Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

Intensely passionate drama set to some of opera’s most sweeping, soulful, and heart-stoppingly beautiful music—that is Eugene Onegin. Tatiana is a lovesick country girl, and Onegin is the sophisticated young man who callously spurns her love before realizing, too late, what a mistake he’s made.

The Smithsonian Institution

The national melody that’s notoriously hard to sing owes its musical roots to a private men’s club. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston hears the “the bombs bursting in air” anew.

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.

The second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7—the Allegretto—has captivated listeners since the symphony’s 1813 premiere, when it was so popular that the orchestra used it as an encore. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on why this particular movement continues to engages us.

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.

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.


Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday at 1 pm, starts the Independence Day weekend with that most independent of American composers, Charles Ives. His music is wild, grand, humorous, poignant, and, at times, ornery. Most of all, though, it is shot through with that very American streak of independence.

Pianist Lara Downes' Vision of the American Dream

Jun 26, 2017

The hope in the "American Dream" is heard in America Again, the new CD by pianist Lara Downes. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story.

In his early twenties, Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) won the title "Argentina's Great Musical Hope" with works such as the ballet score Estancia, and popular piano pieces like Danzas argentinas, which strongly evoke the rhythm and flair of the folk music of Argentina.

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