Arts Desk

If you missed any of our short Arts Desk features on the air, you can always find them right here, along with additional related content. Check out stories by WRTI arts reporters Meridee Duddleston, Susan Lewis, David Patrick Stearns, Debra Lew Harder, Kile Smith, and Maureen Malloy. Arts Desk and Arts News Submission Guidelines


As we celebrate the legacy of jazz pianist Bill Evans, you might be surprised to know that some cool cats named Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and especially—Johann Sebastian Bach—helped shape his sound.

When WRTI Jazz Host Bob Perkins talks about one of his all-time favorite pianists, what does he call him?  The Wonderful Wizard of OZcar!  One of the great jazz pianists of all time, master of the keyboard Oscar Peterson, said he was intimidated by jazz pianist Art Tatum and admired Nat King Cole. But "O.P.," as his friends called him, was a magician who followed his own muse.

Williams James Basie, born on August 21st, 1904 in Redbank, NJ, would grow up to become jazz royalty.  Ever wonder how he got the name Count? Although there were different theories over the years, Basie himself cleared it up with the story reported in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it (1966) by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff.

The Mystery of Music as an Art Form

Aug 13, 2017
Credit: Jeff Herman

Music can be mysterious, even to those who spend their lives creating it. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, composer Christopher Rouse ponders the profound power of music with his concerto for organ and orchestra.

What’s it like growing up aiming for a classical concert career? WRTI’s Susan Lewis asked a young Canadian pianist Thomas Torok how he manages the music, excitement, and competition.  

Fritz Kreisler

A lesser-known fantasy by twentieth-century violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler has captured the imagination of Benjamin Beilman, a 21st-century soloist on the rise. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

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.


What are all the things you need to know if your goal is to be a concert pianist? More than 20 aspiring musicians ages 12 to 27 will travel to Philadelphia in early August from Asia, South America, Canada, and parts of the United States to find out.

In 1956, a groundbreaking performance at the Newport Jazz Festival changed the course of Duke Ellington's path in jazz. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more. 


Credit: Felix Broede

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a highly educated member of the Russian elite. But it’s his connection with folk tunes and the countryside that especially touches one of today’s young classical stars. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Pages