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

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.


Jan Regan / Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is back from its debut in Mongolia, where planned full-orchestra concerts needed to be canceled due to a nation-wide financial crisis. Instead, a contingent of 18 musicians spent two days in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Now, the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what this could lead to.

A New Take on Timpani

Jun 19, 2017

There aren't many concertos composed for timpani. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Maurice Wright has written a work that celebrates the instrument and its often untapped range.

What was the sound of Philadelphia in the late 18th century? As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Dolce Suono Ensemble is going to historic sites to perform music favored by the leaders of the new republic.

So, you want to know how vocalist Kevin Valentine is making it as a musician after leaving behind a full-time legal career? As WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston found out, it takes more than talent.

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.

Every year on Bloomsday, which falls on June 16th, the Rosenbach Museum and Library near Rittenhouse Square organizes more than 70 volunteers to read aloud James Joyce’s once-banned novel Ulysses. But, as WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston finds out, a full appreciation may require more than reading.

Steve Prince

Composer Hannibal Lokumbe continues to take his music into the city's communities on June 15th, 16th, and 17th, highlighting the roles music can play in fostering forgiveness and healing. This is his second extended visit to Philadelphia, as part of his three-year, composer-in-residency with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The songs, or standards, known to us today as "The Great American Songbook" flourished from the mid 1920s to about 1950. Singer Carmen McRae popularized the term with her 1972 album, The Great American Songbook. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book on the subject shines light on the role of jazz in the rise, fall, and rebirth of these great American songs.


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.

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