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

As we remember our War of Independence from Great Britain, you might be surprised to know that Americans deployed a surprising secret weapon—music. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder has more.

The Smithsonian Institution

The national melody that’s notoriously hard to sing owes its musical roots to a private men’s club. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston hears the “the bombs bursting in air” anew.

Two great sax players were born on the same day, just three years apart. On February 2nd, 1924, Sonny Stitt was born in Boston, and Stan Getz made his first appearance in Philadelphia on the same day in 1927. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, each had his own style that would influence future generations.

How does music—without words—respond to political and social turmoil? WRTI’s Susan Lewis considers FREEDOM, a recording featuring flute, piano, and cello. Created independently, each of three works speaks in its own way to artistic freedom and the human spirit.


The summer jazz festival season is about to start. Blockbuster performances at the “Big Three” longest-running summer jazz fests still engender re-makes and recordings. These historic performances live on as benchmarks. Now, starting with the Montreux Jazz Festival — founded in 1967 — WRTI examines highlights from Montreux, Newport, and Monterey.

The second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7—the Allegretto—has captivated listeners since the symphony’s 1813 premiere, when it was so popular that the orchestra used it as an encore. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on why this particular movement continues to engages us.

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.


Pianist Lara Downes' Vision of the American Dream

Jun 26, 2017

The hope in the "American Dream" is heard in America Again, the new CD by pianist Lara Downes. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story.

In his early twenties, Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) won the title "Argentina's Great Musical Hope" with works such as the ballet score Estancia, and popular piano pieces like Danzas argentinas, which strongly evoke the rhythm and flair of the folk music of Argentina.

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.

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