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,  Debra Lew Harder, and Maureen Malloy. Arts Desk and Arts News Submission Guidelines

A 1962 record of holiday music by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Temple University Concert choir "went gold" in 1963 and continues to be sold today. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores its ongoing appeal with violinist Herb Light, who played on the original recording of The Glorious Sound of Christmas.

John Devlin

Born in 1961 in New Orleans, jazz and classical trumpet player, and composer, Wynton Marsalis grew up playing in churches, jazz bands, and orchestras. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his 2015 violin concerto reflects the varied musical landscape of America.

Philadelphia’s role in the formation of our government is characteristic of a time when the city and its leading residents were forging firsts of all kinds.  As Handel’s Messiah is performed this holiday season, you might wonder when and where those first citizens might have heard the great Baroque work.

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.

Each night as Jews around the world observe Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, the age-old song Maoz Tsur—"Rock of Ages" in Hebrew—is sung after the lighting of the candles on the menorah. 

You can take a bus or a car to the historic mansions of Fairmount Park this holiday season, but in the past a sleigh would have carried you there. Here’s WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston on the sights you may have seen along the way. 

The four DePue brothers (Wallace, Jason, Zack, and Alex) were raised on classical music, barbershop, and Bluegrass. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today they’re juggling work at conventional ensembles—with a family-based band specializing in a blend of classical and American grass roots music.

Tenor sax player, composer, and arranger Tim Warfield has been performing professionally since he was sixteen. He was able to improvise at a very early age and says that by now he thinks of the saxophone as an extension of himself.

Audience members and musicians will gather at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia on December 3rd for a novel experience. Around 400 performers will play a symphony on broken basses, flutes, clarinets, autoharps, violins and cellos. 

Tchaikovsky wrote his violin concerto in 1878, but his friends and family were critical and he didn’t find a violinist to premiere it for over three years. Now, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the concerto is one of the most frequently performed concertos in the repertoire.