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

Finding Jazz in Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto

Jan 16, 2017

It was the late 1920s when French composer Maurice Ravel first heard jazz in the United States and in Paris, where it was also popular. How did it influence his 1931 Piano Concerto in G Major? WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service is the largest event of its kind in the country.  Volunteers spread out across the region to perform all kinds of service projects. Thousands converge on the campus of Girard College for a full slate of activities, including a job fair. 

What is Gypsy Jazz?

Jan 9, 2017

Gypsy Jazz founders Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli were both born this month in the first decade of the 20th century. Rooted in African-American communities of the South, jazz became popular in Europe in the 1920s and '30s and influenced the development of other styles. WRTI's Susan Lewis has more on "Gypsy jazz."

The Mystery of Music as an Art Form

Jan 9, 2017
Credit: Jeff Herman

Music can be mysterious, even to those who spend their lives creating it. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, composer Christopher Rouse ponders the profound power of music with his concerto for organ and orchestra.

Why Is Classical Music Called Classical Music?

Jan 4, 2017

Why do we call so much of the orchestral music we hear classical music? WRTI’s Susan Lewis suggests that  the masters of history’s classical period, from 1750 to the early 1800’s, may have branded the art form forever.


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.

Theories abound about why the violins created in Cremona, Italy from the mid 1500s to the mid 1700s serve as the benchmark among masterpieces. Intriguing research by acoustics experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might provide a clue.

Fritz Kreisler

A lesser-known fantasy by twentieth-century violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler has captured the imagination of Benjamin Beilman, a 21st-century soloist on the rise. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.


Music, spectacular costumes, and strutting down Broad Street? It must be New Year's Day in Philadelphia with the Mummers Parade!

Midori's Passion Beyond the Concert Hall

Dec 22, 2016
Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Violinist Midori has been performing with major orchestras since her 1983 New Year’s Eve debut at age 11 with The New York Philharmonic. While still in her teens, she developed another passion.  

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