August 4th marks the anniversary of the birth of the great trumpet virtuoso, singer, and bandleader Louis Armstrong who died in 1971 at age 69, one month shy of his 70th birthday. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the life and legacy of the musician who propelled jazz onto a mainstream stage. She speaks with Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal drama critic, playwright, and author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.
Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, who died in June, conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra this past season. The program featured the music of two French composers who wrote and circulated in the same artistic circles in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. During Fruhbeck's visit, WRTI's Susan Lewis talked with the Maestro about the imagery and musicality of Debussy and Ravel.
Big revelations sometimes come in unassuming packages. And when Temple University harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff spent a month at historic Williamsburg, Virginia studying parlor music from colonial times, she came away with new ways of playing and hearing. It was also, as The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, a lot of fun!
In the midst of World War II, a collaboration between choreographer Martha Graham and composer Aaron Copland gave birth to an enduring American classic. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston hears Appalachian Spring in a new way.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s statue of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, was created by the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1893, for the top of Madison Square Garden - which was then on New York City's East Side. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a recent re-gilding recalls its past, but also suits its contemporary home.
In the 1870s, Tchaikovsky composed such large scale works as Swan Lake, Symphonies 2, 3, and 4, and Variations on a Rococo Theme. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in the same years, he was also writing short orchestral pieces with emotional power and technical virtuosity. She discusses two of these pieces, Melancoliqueand Valse-Scherzo, with Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster, David Kim.
When American pianist Van Cliburn died in 2013, funeral organizers in Texas couldn’t locate an obscure piece of music he’d requested for the service. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to a Philadelphia connection, the Russian folk song was found, and is now enjoying new life in America.
Here are several ensembles presenting the Russian folk song performed at Van Cliburn's funeral service.