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,  Debra Lew Harder, and Maureen Malloy. Arts Desk and Arts News Submission Guidelines

Bagpipes often play at police and firefighter funerals, but they also play at celebrations.  And in Philadelphia --The Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes & Drums play everything from Amazing Grace to the Rocky Theme to music in concert with The Philadelphia Orchestra.


With genius and grace, African-American slaves transformed bitter human experience into a beautiful art form called the "spiritual." One of the most haunting African-American spirituals, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” was likely borne out of heart-wrenching tragedy: the forcible separation of parent from child.

It was the fall of 1802 when Ludwig van Beethoven confessed his nearly fatal despair about his growing deafness, in what’s now known as his "Heiligenstadt Testament." His music then took a daring new turn. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas about Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica."

Marc Horn

Violinist Joshua Bell is in town playing Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he made his first major concert debut at the age of 14. Now, over 35 years later, he’s a celebrated soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor. 

A bestiary in the Middle Ages was a book of illustrations of animals, each accompanied by a moral lesson.   Sir James MacMillan’s musical bestiary for organ and orchestra is informed by his Scottish background, different musical traditions, and a sharp sense of social satire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Maybe you can’t be there in person, but you’ll have a chance to listen to history being made in June. WRTI 90.1 and host Gregg Whiteside will bring you the excitement of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s upcoming 2018 tour to Europe and Israel during three simulcasts, each with a one-hour delay.

Born in New York City to Jewish-German immigrants, Lorenz Hart penned some of Broadway’s most haunting, sophisticated lyrics. He began collaborating with composer Richard Rodgers when he was 24 and Rodgers 17.

Are you a basic romantic, a starry-eyed sweetheart, a cranky curmudgeon, or a wizened veteran of love's enduring themes? Let’s hear from you! What concerto, song, movement, or jazz riff pulls on your heartstrings On Wednesday, February 14th we’re devoting our regular jazz and classical request hours to YOUR Valentine’s Day favorites. Tell us what they are! 

Vern Evans

Music was her family business, but conducting became her very own dream job. Now known worldwide, Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla turned to conducting when she was 11 because she was too old to begin studying an instrument. And look where she is now...

Are you an ecstatic fan of the Philadelphia Eagles? Heading to the big Super Bowl victory parade on Thursday? Well, we're celebrating, too...with our top 10 classical works that will leave you flying high!

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