The Mendelssohn Club Choir is mounting its biggest-ever production later this month with the premiere of Anthracite Fields by the cutting-edge composer Julia Wolfe, who is exploring the coal-mining culture in her Pennsylvania roots. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns met with her...inside a coal mine.
In 1944 big dance bands were all the rage. They were so popular that to gain additional revenue for World War II, a 30 percent "cabaret tax" was enforced on the gross receipts of any "public place where music and dancing privileges...except instrumental or mechanical music alone, are afforded the patrons in connection with the serving or selling of food, refreshment, or merchandise."
The great Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25th, 1917, and died in 1996; she would have turned 98 next week. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, "The Queen of Jazz" - also called "The First Lady of Song," left a lasting legacy on American song and jazz.
Don Juan, one of fiction's most infamous scoundrels, returns to the opera stage in Philadelphia next week. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, Opera Philadelphia's latest production is also a showcase for singers who learned their craft in the city.
The Jazz Sanctuary is an organization that takes jazz into houses of worship and other nontraditional venues. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, founder Alan Segal says jazz and the spiritual community drove his recovery from a life-threatening crisis.
All across the country, April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). In Philadelphia, JAM's month-long series of concerts, workshops, and events - including the Center City Jazz Festival - culminates on April 30th, which is Jazz Appreciation Day.
In 1929, an unusual work by a versatile 20th-century French composer premiered at the home of his wealthy patrons. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, this piece, still unique in the classical repertoire, is part piano concerto and part ballet, in a chamber music setting.
Since its founding in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra has had four music directors whose tenures have lasted more than a decade. Today, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, there is one member of the ensemble who has played under all of these great conductors.
When violinist Herbert Light won his audition for the Orchestra in 1961, it was his second job offer in a week.
Over the past decade or so, it has become increasingly difficult for overseas musicians without well-established reputations in the U.S. to get permission to travel here for work. However, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, when a powerhouse such as The Philadelphia Orchestra wants a particular soloist, they usually get their man, or woman.