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

When David-Michael Kenney returned to Philadelphia from California, he walked down the Avenue of the Arts past the Walk of Fame plaques. He noticed the nameplates of the local music greats were quite tarnished.

Erik Satie

In June of 1912, Igor Stravinsky premiered the piano version of his daring new work The Rite of Spring, a year before its orchestral unveiling. His piano-playing partner was none other than Claude Debussy. Classical music has never been the same since the public first heard it.

In his early twenties, Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) won the title "Argentina's Great Musical Hope" with works such as the ballet score Estancia, and popular piano pieces like Danzas argentinas, which strongly evoke the rhythm and flair of the folk music of Argentina.

Orchestra 2001 didn't fade away when its founder and director James Freeman announced his departure two years ago after 26 years at its helm. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports that the Swarthmore College professor's replacement, Jayce Ogren, has — in the three months since his appointment — devised plans to make the contemporary music ensemble ubiquitous.

Johannes Brahms, the perfectionist, destroyed many of his early works. Yet he kept his first published piece of chamber music, even after revising it 35 years later. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked with violinist Joshua Bell, who has recorded the Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 that Brahms wrote when he was just 20 years old. 

DonkeyHotey

In the run-up to the November elections, political ads proliferate. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at how music contributes to the message.

A New Take on Timpani

Oct 17, 2016

There aren't many concertos composed for timpani. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Maurice Wright has written a work that celebrates the instrument and its often untapped range.


Brushes with fame may be commonplace for those who work in the public eye, but, as WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports, Bob Perkins has never been too far from the famous, even in the most unlikely of places.


The song “Some Enchanted Evening” is a sublime moment in the post-war production South Pacific that continues to inspire. Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, Placido Domingo, The Temptations, Barbra Streisand, José Carreras, Bob Dylan, Jane Oliver and lots of other artists have recorded it.

Credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

You go to a concert and see a string quartet looking like most every other string quartet — until it dawns on you they’re not looking at music. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks to the Chiara String Quartet, who plays all the Bartók string quartets, and more, from memory.

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