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

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem is unusual—in form, in scope, and in message. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Latin Mass for chorus and orchestra is interspersed by English poetry about the brutality of war.

Twentieth-century Austrian composer Alban Berg dedicated his Violin Concerto to the memory of the 18-year-old daughter of a friend. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work evokes emotion not typically associated with the 12-tone style.


 

Known for her distinctive singing, which she did most often from the keyboard, Shirley Horn studied classical music before turning to jazz in the 1950s.  In the early '60s she caught the attention of Miles  Davis, and then her career started to take off.

Tony Webb / City of Philadelphia, 2016

When the Newport Jazz Festival announced that Philadelphia-born musician Christian McBride would assume the role of its artistic director in 2017, festival founder and current producer George Wein said, "When I first met Christian McBride in 1989, I knew he was someone special.

The bass player, composer, band leader, arts and education advocate strikes people that way.  Along with his stand-out talent and engaging personality, McBride pays attention and seems to live in the moment.  That focus reaps rewards for McBride and for the rest of us.   

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s life has been fueled by music for over eight decades. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he says an early listening experience was the spark.

When Beethoven Traded Despair for Triumph

Apr 30, 2017

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."

A recent recording of an opera that premiered in 1937 shines a light on a Polish composer. He survived the Holocaust, but emerged from hiding only to shun his earlier success. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Joseph Beer.

Credit: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera, 2017

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been entering the Metropolitan Opera through the backstage artists' entrance for years, though now it’s different: He’s now among those who run the place. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns met him there prior to his April to May run of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman.

Jon Batiste on TV, in the Community, and in Philadelphia

Apr 25, 2017

A supercharged jazz musician has entered the public eye in a huge way. Jon Batiste leads the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He traveled to Philadelphia for the kickoff of Jazz Appreciation Month and spoke with WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston.

Despite being a Polish Jew, 17-year-old aspiring composer Joseph Beer won admission in 1925 to the prestigious Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, which had a quota for both Jews and Poles. He was also allowed to skip the first four years of the curriculum to study composition in master classes, and went on to graduate with highest honors.

It was 1930, two years before Hitler became chancellor of Germany.

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