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

Jessica Griffin

Early solo viola repertoire was often played by violinists who also played the viola. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, that music today puts violists in the spotlight, including Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Violist Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang.

The songs, or standards, known to us today as "The Great American Songbook" flourished from the mid 1920s to about 1950. Singer Carmen McRae popularized the term with her 1972 album, The Great American Songbook. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book on the subject shines light on the role of jazz in the rise, fall, and rebirth of these great American songs.


It took ten years to write Whisper Not, The Autobiography of Benny Golson, by tenor saxophonist and composer Benny Golson and his longtime friend, writer Jim Merod. Walking down the “corridor of life” Golson says, there are surprises, some delightful, and some not.

The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared 2017 Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
 


Jazz artists have always used a collection of written music called "Real Books" to learn jazz standards. As WRTI's Maureen Malloy reports, Philadelphia now has its own Real Book, shining the spotlight on local composers.

Credit: Rob Shanahan

The trumpet was the instrument of kings, in court and on the battlefield. Today the orchestral trumpet is an instrument for virtuosos, and used for a variety of purposes. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

A Score Is Born for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Le Corsaire

Feb 28, 2017

Bountiful leaps across the stage. Defying gravity in unison. An extravaganza of principal dancers. All this is part of the ballet Le Corsaire. But first comes the music.

Credit: Dirty Sugar Photography

Benj Pasek (an Ardmore native) and Justin Paul—best friends from their days at the University of Michigan—just won a 2017 Academy Award for writing the lyrics to the song "City of Stars" from the hit film La La Land. They're also Golden Globe winners!

Few inventions were as complicated as the atomic bomb. But the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns discovered that Curtis Opera Theatre’s production of the John Adams opera Doctor Atomic couldn't be simpler—or more provocative.

Remember the Golden Age of Piano?

Feb 27, 2017

Think back to the years before mobile devices, record players, and radio—when people who wanted to hear music heard it live or made their own. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the Golden Age of the Piano.

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