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

Andrew Wyeth. Christina's World. 1948. Tempera on panel, 32 1/4 x 47 3/4" (81.9 x 121.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

One of the Philadelphia region's most celebrated painters was born in 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his work has also inspired music by one of the region’s most well-known contemporary composers.

Jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, died in New York, and in between he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 91 on September 23rd.

J.S. Bach’s second-surviving son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), was a musical force in his own right. His fame, at least after the mid-1700s, overshadowed that of his now-legendary father and the musical footprint of this German genius reaches far beyond his native Weimar.

Credit: Jessica Griffin

The largest, lowest non-brass woodwind instrument in the orchestra evokes darkness, romance, humor, and joy. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more about the contrabassoon.

Austrian composer Anton Webern became famous as a member of the "Second Viennese School," known for writing atonal music. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, an early work—officially premiered decades after Webern’s death—shows another side to the 20th-century modernist.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art; Bequest of Charles C. Willis, 1956

This week’s solar eclipse has a lot of people thinking about outer space. In his new composition, written for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Dirk Brossé uses the “spacey” sounds of an unusual instrument to depict an important encounter that took place on Earth -- not far from WRTI. 

Twentieth-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich composed much of his work under the shadow of political oppression. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today, his music and his personal story continue to inspire a new generation.


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.

NASA

Solar eclipse fever has seized America! And whether you're watching outside with "eclipse glasses," or inside—on TV or online—WRTI is here to keep you company with great music inspired by the heavens! 

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.

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