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

The film I Called Him Morgan tells of the rise and tragic fall of trumpeter Lee Morgan, who grew up in Philadelphia.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked with sax master Odean Pope about his memories of Morgan, who in his short life made a long-lasting contribution.

In correspondence with a patron, Tchaikovsky confessed he was grappling with the idea of fate in his Symphony No. 4. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the composer tried to make sense of his world with music that still resonates today. Listen to her conversation with Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Paola Nogueras

What’s life like for opera singers no longer on the stage? WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston looks at Quartet, a play at Bristol Riverside Theatre in Bucks County through November 19th, that portrays universal truths about the triumph and turmoil of advancing age.


The complex story behind one of the most recorded songs in the "Great American Songbook" is the basis for a documentary being screened on Thursday, November 9th during this year's Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.

Chad Lawson's interpretation of Chopin's nocturnes, preludes, and waltzes involves a surprising reconfiguration of the piano, and offers a sense of intimacy with the music that is likely new to most listeners.  A couple of years ago,  WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learned about the power of simplicity in her conversation with pianist Chad Lawson.

The leader of an ensemble such as Temple University’s Symphony Orchestra does much to educate and prepare the next generation of musicians. WRTI's Susan Lewis talked with Artistic Director Andreas Delfs, who says the learning goes both ways.   


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.

Library of Congress

In the midst of World War II, a collaboration between choreographer Martha Graham and composer Aaron Copland gave birth to an enduring American classic. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston hears Appalachian Spring in a new way.

George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique is not for dancers, but percussionists. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the 1924 concert piece was revised in 1953, and continues to challenge performers with its fast pace, syncopated rhythms, and unusual orchestration.

Jazz pianist and singer Nat "King" Cole, the first African American to host his own TV variety show in 1956, was known for his great talent and his grace, even in the face of mistreatment and racial discrimination. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on a new play that explores what this grace must have cost him.

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