Claude Debussy

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie, the eccentric French composer at the intersection of modernism and minimalism in early 20th-century music and art. From Monday, October 17th through Friday the 21st, WRTI will revisit his enigmatically beautiful music all week long.

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi's latest musical project turned the Eiffel Tower into a giant percussion instrument. From the basement to the summit, the Paris monument's girders, railings, and rivets were banged, tapped, strummed and thumped. And then, those 10,000 samples were layered into one composition, called Tower Music.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales shows off his virtuosic skills in two very different and very challenging works in this Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert re-broadcast, Sunday, August 16, 1 to 3 pm.

Competitions have tested serious music students for decades. They also have prompted the composition of works that continue to enrich the repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Claude Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Orchestra.

Two French composers, who wrote and circulated in the same artistic circles, are still being explored and considered together today. Now, in advance of this week’s concert broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI, Susan Lewis looks at two masterworks that conjure imagery – one on the land, and one on the sea.

In the western suburbs of Paris 150 years ago today, a boy was born to an unassuming couple, proprietors of a china shop who had no great taste for music. But that little boy felt otherwise, and grew up to write music of bold color, timbre and harmonic daring.

Claude Debussy ignored the old rules about how to write music and in the process created a brave new world of sonic possibilities.

Some people are intimidated by the vastness of classical music. And while the prospect of more than 1,000 years of hits to consider may be daunting, just think instead of how many musical journeys of discovery can be made.

This time, he’d show them. The Paris Conservatoire accepted Ravel as a piano student at age 16, and even though he won a piano competition, more than anything he wanted to compose. But the Conservatory was a hard place. He never won the fugue prize, never won the composition prize, never won anything for writing music and they sent him packing. Twice. He studied with the great Gabriel Fauré, in school and out, but he just couldn’t make any headway with the ruling musical authorities.