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

You can take a bus or 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. On Saturday, December 3rd, WRTI hosts will be appearing at this year’s Fairmount Park Historic Home Holiday Tour for "Sounds of the Season."

What instrument has been used to conjure a shepherd’s horn as well as a human cry of despair? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the oddly named, but evocative, English horn.

Credit: Andrew Joos

The music of that legendary Rat Pack trio Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. is being revived in Manayunk by a show biz collective known as The Summer Club. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns finds out what’s shaking.

 


A new book looks into the tunes that put the "roar" in "The Roaring Twenties." WRTI's Susan Lewis spoke with the author of Tunes of the Twenties and All That Jazz: The Stories Behind the Songs.

Music lives in Center City, Philadelphia, home of Play On, Philly!, a program modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema, in which underserved children are taught to play classical music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the program is as much about social change as it is about music. On Giving Tuesday, your pledge to WRTI will be matched by an anonymous donor in support of Play On, Philly! Pledge Here, and thanks so much!

Since it opened its doors in 1913, the Apollo Theater has survived a series of iterations, closures, renovations, and shifts in direction. Its allure as a venue for jazz began in the 1930s with the debut of Jazz a la Carte, a show with an all-black cast.

In an era when women had little voice, 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen founded her own women's monastery, authored volumes of sacred text, served as a physician to her community, wrote the oldest surviving musical morality play, and produced plainchants of great expression and beauty. She was canonized in 2012.

Credit: Steph Mackinnon

What kind of music would speak to Bach today? Cellist Matt Haimovitz—who has been performing works by Bach in concert halls and clubs for the last three decades—asked composers to respond to the preludes from Bach’s cello suites. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports.

Credit: Joseph Lange

Mozart mentioned in a letter to his father that he wanted to write a mass for his new wife Constanze, who was a soprano. “But there was no commission,” says Temple University music history professor Steven Zohn. “It’s not usual for him to write something on spec or just because he wanted to write something that showed the love for his wife.”

Philadelphia has a major new pianist in residence: Sara Davis Buechner, who was recently named faculty pianist at Temple University. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns discovered in her a manifesto for artistic survival.

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