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 modern game of golf comes from Scotland, where in the mid 19th century it also became a subject for artists. WRTI’s Susan Lewis considers the relationship between art and golf in Victorian Great Britain, as a Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition spotlights an 1847 masterwork: The Golfers. Museum Curator of European Painting Before 1900 Jennifer Thompson says the large painting is one of the most celebrated in the genre.

The Art of Golf runs through July 7th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Hiccups and sneezes are not a standard accompaniment to a performance of classical music. But when was the last time a live performance was free of coughing? At a classical music concert, rules of etiquette demand silent immersion in the music - no cell phones or texting of course, no talking, and a limited array of acceptable responses to the performance.

Economics Professor Andreas Wagener, who specializes in social policy at Leibniz University of Hannover in Hannover, Germany, reviews the research and outlines six motives for why there’s more than the usual amount of coughing during classical concerts.

Professor Wagener is the author of “Why Do People (Not) Cough in Concerts? The Economics of Concert Etiquette” - published by the Association for Cultural Economics International.

Good People At The Walnut Street Theatre: The Playwright's Story

Mar 24, 2013

David Lindsay-Abaire would seem to have a case of multiple creative personalities. The Pulitzer-winning playwright wrote the book and lyrics to Shrek the Musical and worked on the screenplay to The Great and Powerful Oz. 

He’s now represented by a hugely different theatrical work at the Walnut Street Theatre, a play titled Good People about hard-scrabble life and class struggle in South Boston, or “Southie.” The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns spoke to the playwright in his Brooklyn home and discovered that Good People is the real him.

Preparing The Chorus For A Master Work

Mar 24, 2013

Music lives at Westminster Choir College at Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the college's Westminster Symphonic Choir has, for almost 90 years, been performing with the world's foremost orchestras under some legendary conductors, including Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Pierre Boulez, Robert Shaw, Kurt Masur and on and on.

Joe Miller is professor of conducting and chair of conducting for organ and sacred music at Westminster Choir College. This week, his Westminster Symphonic Choir performs Bach’s St Mathew Passion with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin, a Westminster Alum.

Once home to jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane, Philadelphia still has a committed jazz contingent. WRTI's Susan Lewis talked with Christ Dhimitri and Mark DeNinno, past and present owners of Chris’ Jazz Café, an active jazz club in Center City.

Let us know Where Music Lives in your community! Add your ideas in the comments section here and check out our other Where Music Lives posts.

An Insider's Look At Outsider Musicians

Mar 19, 2013

“Great and Mighty Things” are being seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That’s the title of a highly unorthodox exhibition of self-taught or outsider art: works by people unschooled, unfiltered, and unmediated by outside aesthetics, but created out of a pure inner need.

But don't think that outsider artists are confined to the idiosyncratic paintings, drawings and sculptures that  can be seen at the museum through June. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns hears outsider composers everywhere, even in the insider realms of Princeton University.


Temple Dance Creates New Multimedia Work

Mar 17, 2013

Temple University's Dance Department has commissioned a new work to be performed by world-renowned, Philadelphia-based Rennie Harris Puremovement. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the piece was created for a site-specific performance beneath the mural in North Philadelphia for which it is named.


Candace diCarlo

This month, WRTI is showcasing the works of various women composers. WRTI's Meridee Duddleston looks at a Philadelphia favorite: Jennifer Higdon.

Philadelphia’s Jennifer Higdon is among the most frequently performed living American composers. Now 50, the successful, unpretentious, and endlessly creative Higdon is adding an opera to her extensive repertoire. It’s a joint commission of The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia based on Charles Frazier’s Civil War novel Cold Mountain. Higdon’s family moved from Atlanta to east Tennessee when she was an adolescent– about 40 miles, she says, as the crow flies from Cold Mountain. That geographic proximity fueled her insight into the characters she’s recasting in operatic form.

Higdon’s partner, Cheryl Lawson, runs Lawdon Press, the company that publishes and distributes Higdon’s works.  Among her most-performed compositions is blue cathedral, a tone poem she wrote after the death, from cancer, of her brother Andrew Blue Higdon. Her works have been recorded on dozens of CDs and performed around the world.  


Temple University Ensemble Debuts New Work

Mar 17, 2013

Earlier this year the Temple University Symphony Orchestra was nominated for two Grammy awards. Now, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the ensemble is preparing to debut a newly commissioned piece by a Grammy-winning composer.

In a program that also features Samuel Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard, featuring the combined Temple choirs, and Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony, the Temple University Symphony Orchestra conducted by Luis Biava will perform the world premiere of  Reflections on the Mississippi by Michael Daugherty at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on Sunday, March 24 at 4 pm. Information Here. WRTI will broadcast the concert in the near future.


While there are many concertos for string instruments, fewer works exist for woodwinds, brass or percussion. Yet, as Susan Lewis reports, a previously under-performed work for trumpet from the early 19th century became part of the standard repertoire in the second half of the 20th. 

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Trumpet David Bilger plays the Hummel Trumpet Concerto in The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcast on Sunday, March 17th at 2 pm.

*Listen to a more in-depth conversation with David Bilger during the Intermission of the Orchestra's concert broadcast on Sunday, March 17th.

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