Saturday Classics

Saturday, 6 am to 12 noon

Wake up to a great variety of classical music every Saturday morning with host Rolf Charlston. You'll hear works ranging from Baroque to contemporary - from a gentle waltz to a bright tango - from old favorites to something new.

This Sunday on WRTI, it's a Philadelphia Orchestra concert from late April at Verizon Hall with Conductor-in-Residence Cristian Măcelaru on the podium. The program begins with Sergei Prokofiev’s sparkling First Symphony, completed the summer before Russian revolutionary upheavals led to his departure from his native country for nearly two decades.

On this month’s concert broadcast of performances by The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, we’ll hear two premieres and one of the greatest violin concertos in the repertoire. 

John Williams, so famous for his award-winning film scores including Jaws, Star Wars, and Schindler’s List, wrote a violin concerto that transcends the personal story behind it. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

When Samuel Barber’s violin concerto was rejected by the man for whom it was commissioned in 1939, he turned to his alma mater — The Curtis Institute of Music — where the concerto was performed to acclaim, leading to its official premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked to a panel of artists about Barber’s legacy, and the pleasures and perils of creating and performing new work in Philadelphia.


Join us this Sunday, from 1 to 3 pm, for a Philadelphia Orchestra concert from mid April 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.

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. Anthony Barrese conducts Opera Delaware’s production of Hamlet on WRTI, Saturday, June 11th at 1 pm. Tune in!


An operatic version of King Lear...why hasn't anybody thought of it before? Well, some great musical minds have indeed. And on a recent trip to Paris, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Sterns found the composer who nailed it.

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.


Classical and Latin American music are flourishing in North Wales, PA, where professional chamber musicians share their music and culture with students from near and far. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the Community Arts Network called ArCoNet – which this week is hosting its annual Dali Quartet International Music Festival.

Join us for an intense performance of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 by Lisa Batiashvili with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin. This was the centerpiece of the last concert of the 2014/2015 season and a program the Orchestra took on its European tour, which was a stunning success.


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