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 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.

While Easter has inspired Bach's Saint Matthew Passion and many other beloved classical works, the holiday of Passover—which is being celebrated by millions of the Jewish faith this week—claims no famous pieces in the concert repertoire. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explores why.

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 is not very well known in America. But it has a strong connection with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which continues to mine the richness of the work. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.


Opera Philadelphia's production of Charlie Parker's YARDBIRD tells the compelling story of a legendary jazz icon in a way that's meant to broaden and diversify opera’s audience. The role of saxophonist Charlie Parker was composed by Daniel Schnyder with tenor Lawrence Brownlee in mind.

Jerry Stoll / Monterey Jazz Festival

You won’t find a blue-ribbon pie at this northern California fairground this weekend. But the place will be filled with multiple stages and wall-to-wall music. Here's Meridee Duddleston's take on the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Decades ago, jazz on television may have been restricted to the occasional theme song or even an appearance by Ella Fitzgerald on a talk show. But, as WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports, someone else now joins the big names of the past.

A leading contemporary conductor explores both music, and—in his free time—fragrances.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Fabio Luisi sees many connections between music and perfume.


Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.

Though she was blessed with impeccable intonation, a distinctive sound, and a superb sense of timing, Ella Fitzgerald was hindered in her early years by the limitations of the repertoire she sang. It took some time, determination, and visionary collaboration for Ella to find her voice.

The true story of a 19th-century swindler in New York City inspired not only an opera, but also a concerto. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Bramwell Tovey’s Songs of the Paradise Saloon for trumpet and orchestra.

Pages