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

Each night as Jews around the world observe Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, the age-old song Maoz Tsur—"Rock of Ages" in Hebrew—is sung after the lighting of the candles on the menorah. 

You can take a bus or a car to the historic mansions of Fairmount Park this holiday season, but in the past a sleigh would have carried you there. Here’s WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston on the sights you may have seen along the way. 

John Devlin

Born in 1961 in New Orleans, jazz and classical trumpet player, and composer, Wynton Marsalis grew up playing in churches, jazz bands, and orchestras. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his 2015 violin concerto reflects the varied musical landscape of America.

Looking for the perfect soundtrack for the holidays? Tired of the same old music? We've got a fix for that. We asked WRTI’s hosts and arts reporters to tell us their go-to holiday favorites. Here are their answers, and the memories, feelings, or just beautiful sounds that inspired them.

The four DePue brothers (Wallace, Jason, Zack, and Alex) were raised on classical music, barbershop, and Bluegrass. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today they’re juggling work at conventional ensembles—with a family-based band specializing in a blend of classical and American grass roots music.

This week Hilary Hahn plays Bernstein in a live broadcast on WRTI. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, it’s all part of a season-long celebration of the Renaissance man who influenced so many, including Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Tenor sax player, composer, and arranger Tim Warfield has been performing professionally since he was sixteen. He was able to improvise at a very early age and says that by now he thinks of the saxophone as an extension of himself.

Capture.world

Audience members and musicians will gather at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia on December 3rd for a novel experience. Around 400 performers will play a symphony on broken basses, flutes, clarinets, autoharps, violins and cellos. 

Tchaikovsky wrote his violin concerto in 1878, but his friends and family were critical and he didn’t find a violinist to premiere it for over three years. Now, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the concerto is one of the most frequently performed concertos in the repertoire.

How about a hollowed-out pumpkin as a drum? What about a carrot as a flute? Brussel sprouts rubbed together as squeaky keepers of the beat. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learns about vegetables with a life beyond the table. Since its official debut in 2011, the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra has evolved, this year appointing its first music director.

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