Saturday, July 12, 2014 would have been the 80th birthday of celebrated American pianist Van Cliburn, who died in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, his 1958 win in the Soviet Union’s first International Tchaikovsky Competition was a welcome sign of warmth in the midst of Cold War tensions.
Westminster Choir College at Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey is an epicenter for excellence in choral music. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, one of Westminster’s choirs can be heard on WRTI on Sunday, July 13 at 1 pm, conducted by a now very well-known alum of the school.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing a two-year cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, although known to generations of music lovers, these great works continue to provide insights into Western musical heritage.
A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC, is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.
Case in point: in a series of letters written in 1957 to his wife Felicia, while she was visiting her family in Santiago, Chile, Leonard Bernstein faithfully chronicles the progress of West Side Story during the final weeks of rehearsal through the show’s out-of-town opening in Washington, D.C. The letters reveal Bernstein’s changing emotions about the show from frustration and agony to his final state of euphoria. In addition to comments about West Side Story, Bernstein writes about signing his contract as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, his upcoming thirty-ninth birthday, and how much he misses Felicia and their children, Jamie and Alexander. Read the letters here.
The Special Collections of the Music Division are truly fascinating and constitute a resource for musical scholarship that is unmatched anywhere in the world. These unique bodies of materials are extraordinarily vast and diverse, yet very much interrelated. They include some of the greatest treasures of the Music Division and the Library of Congress.
Excerpts of Meridee Duddleston’s interview with Senior Music Specialist Raymond White and Music Division Director Susan Vita.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts now has a two-part exhibition of works on paper by African American artists. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the works on view represent a wide range of explorations in this medium.
In his essay "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," the great academic and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois argued that true equality for African Americans would ultimately have to also include an end to cultural isolation. This latest PAFA exhibition takes its title from that 1903 essay published in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk.
One of the most prominent bands in nation, and the country's oldest, continuously active musical organization, is frequently heard on WRTI's weekday 7:15 am Sousalarm. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston shares a glimpse of the U.S. Marine Band.
After more than a decade of planning, The Philadelphia Museum of Art is unveiling a blueprint for a major, multi-phase renovation and expansion designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the transformation of the iconic structure will be nearly invisible from the outside.
Born in 1738 in a village just outside Philadelphia, Benjamin West was one of the first Americans to achieve superstar status on the international art scene. However, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter Reports, West’s success came not at home, but abroad.
Once named by TheEconomist magazine as one of the world’s 20 living polymaths, pianist Stephen Hough pursues a variety of interests, from music to poetry to painting. In 2001 he became the first classical music performer to win the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this versatile artist, and his most recent CD.