Arts Desk

Check out stories by WRTI arts reporters Meridee Duddleston, Susan Lewis,  Debra Lew Harder, and Maureen Malloy. Arts Desk and Arts News Submission Guidelines

WRTI’s concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra on Sunday, April 14th features the music of two Romantic Viennese masters.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis talks with concertmaster David Kim about how the symphonies of Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner bring out the famous Philadelphia sound, and about the interpretation of guest conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi.  

Listen to this Sunday’s WRTI concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra, which will include an interview at Intermission with concertmaster David Kim. 

Renowned Swedish-Born Artist Honored

Apr 8, 2013

In 1638, decades before William Penn and his fellow Quakers arrived in Pennsylvania, a small group of Swedish settlers founded the “New Sweden Colony” along the banks of the Delaware River.

Today, traces of Philadelphia’s Swedish heritage are easy to find. For instance, take the city’s flag, which, with its three vertical stripes of blue, gold and blue, strongly resembles Sweden’s national flag. 

Swedish and Swedish-American cultural, heritage and traditions are preserved and promoted by the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia. And as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the museum is honoring a well-known living Swedish-American artist with strong ties to Philadelphia.


WRTI will broadcast a Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Mozart and Beethoven this Sunday, highlighting some musical connections between these two masters.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, on the podium will be Christoph von Dohnanyi who has a longtime connection with the Philadelphians.  

The harp is one of the world’s oldest instruments. And now, thanks to the efforts of Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Harpist Elizabeth Hainen, concert grand harps are once again being played in Philadelphia schools.

As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Hainen is the driving force behind The Lyra Society, an organization she founded in 2004 to promote the harp through new commissions and lessons in the Philadelphia schools.

The Lyra Society presents A Harpist's Homecoming, with Philadelphia students and former Boston Symphony Principal Harp Ann Hobson Pilot, on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 6 pm at Philadelphia High School for Girls at Broad and Olney Streets. Information here.

Listen to Elizabeth Hainen's interview with Susan Lewis about nurturing the next generation of Philadelphia harpists.

Wolfie, Meet Ludwig!

Apr 1, 2013

On this Sunday's Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcast, a pianist - world renowned for his interpretations of the music of Beethoven - performs a Mozart piano concerto. Surprisingly, it contains music by both great composers, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports.

You can hear Rudolf Buchbinder perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with The Philadelphia Orchestra on-air and online on WRTI.org at 2 pm on Sunday, April 7th.

Rudolf Buchbinder conducting Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 from the keyboard with the Vienna Philharmonic:

The second Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, or PIFA 2013, opened on March 28th.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the Kimmel Center Plaza is once again be its hub - this time, with a giant Time Machine, and a number of free events. Kimmel Center President Anne Ewers says the festival highlights the Center's role as a public gathering space.

The city festival features music, theater, dance, and other activities staged by over 50 PIFA partners.   

A number of free events will take place on the Kimmel’s Commonwealth Plaza, including Friday at noon concerts, late-night jazz, and a musical production Tuesday through Sunday nights.  The 31-day festival ends with a public day-long fair on Broad Street on April 27th.

Watch a video featuring PIFA partners talking about their work and the idea of time travel.

An annual Jazz@The Point Festival is a cornerstone for the Somers Point Jazz Society; but the nine-year-old organization also spreads jazz around southern New Jersey throughout the year. Lectures and student workshops regularly round out concerts and performances at local venues all around Somers Point. 

The Somers Point Jazz Society has helped put on a Tuesday night jazz series at Sandi Point Coastal Bistro for the last two years. WRTI's Meridee Duddleston stopped in recently on a show that featured Melanie Rice - vocals, Dean Schneider – piano,  accompanied by Tim Lekan – bass, and Bob Shomo – drums.


Tom Mihalek

Even before The Philadelphia Orchestra's new music director took up his post, he'd begun reaching out to other arts organizations. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the Orchestra is now set to present an ambitious co-production of a Richard Strauss masterpiece with Opera Philadelphia.

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.

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