Creatively Speaking

Creatively Speaking
6:02 am
Mon March 11, 2013

PA Ballet Makes Itself At Home

Principal Dancer Arantxa Ochoa and Former Company Member Maximilien Baud in A Midsummer Night's Dream, choreography by George Balanchine
Paul Kolnik

Pennsylvania Ballet’s latest production, A Midsummer Night's Dream, will be the first to be prepared and rehearsed in its new $17.5 million, purpose-built home on North Broad Street. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the company has also revived its ballet school and is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Roy Kaiser speaks about the company's new home.

Where Music Lives
6:02 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Where Music Lives: At the Collingswood Senior Community Center in Camden County

Sax player Bob Pollitt

Music lives in South Jersey, where WRTI's Meridee Duddleston finds jazz creating connections in the neighborhood. The “Jazz Bridge" project deepens the region’s rich jazz roots with a series of neighborhood concerts featuring the area’s great jazz musicians. At the same time, the concerts enable the non-profit Jazz Bridge to provide emergency financial support to local jazz musicians in crisis. It’s a win-win. 

The concerts, at five sites in the Philadelphia area, tackle an all-too-common problem for jazz musicians and bring live jazz to close to home.

Meridee Duddleston attended a "First Thursday"concert at the Collingswood Senior Community Center to see how it works. The evening featured the distinguished Bob Pollitt Jazz Quartet: Bob Pollitt on saxophone, Henry Miller on drums, Craig Thomas on bass. and Bill Schilling on piano.  

Bob Pollitt is a virtuoso saxophonist who has performed nationally and locally, on his own, and alongside musicians who changed the way the sax is played.

Creatively Speaking
6:38 am
Fri March 8, 2013

One Woman In A Hundred: Harpist Edna Phillips And The Philadelphia Orchestra

Edna at the harp
Emil Rhodes, Family Collection


A new biography reveals what it was like to be the first woman to enter the all-male sanctum of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston discovered the powerful combination of talent and fear.


On September 14, 1930, the headline of the Philadelphia Public Ledger read: "Solo Harpist to Be First Girl in Philadelphia Orchestra." A young Edna Phillips entered the single-sex fortress of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930 - a year after pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff called it "the finest orchestra the world has ever heard." She’d played the harp for only five years when she was hired as the first female member and principal harpist.  Her "musicalité" may have been obvious to the pioneering Leopold Stokowski, but was she ready? What was it like to be the only woman among men at a time when gender equality and workplace mores were far different from what they are today?


Author Mary Sue Welsh worked with the observant, warm, and funny Phillips on her story during Phillips’ lifetime, completing it after the first harpist’s death in 2003.  True to Phillips’ desire, it’s as much about the challenges and triumphs of her own life, as about how the Orchestra grew and responded to its conductors - particularly Leopold Stokowski. 


Listen to excerpts from author Mary Sue Welsh's conversation with Meridee Duddleston.


Creatively Speaking
2:47 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

The New, New Young Piano Stars

Niu Niu is the nickname for Zhang Sheng Liang, the young Chinese pianist who is on the rise.

Classical pianists just keep getting younger, and some are playing major engagements with The Philadelphia Orchestra before they're old enough to even take a legal drink.

These new young Turks are different from those of old, says The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns, because they’re making their names more from their brains and hearts rather than just their fingers.

Creatively Speaking
6:55 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Ars Nova Workshop: Keeping Jazz and Experimental Music Alive in Philadelphia

Billy Hart Quartet, featuring Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Ethan Iverson: piano; Ben Street: bass; Billy Hart: drums

Ars Nova means “New Art,” and for over a dozen years, Ars Nova Workshop has been presenting musicians performing jazz and experimental music in Philadelphia. Susan Lewis reports on how promoting new music is in keeping with the City's rich musical history. 

Coming up on Wednesday, March 20th at 8 pm...Ars Nova Workshop presents The Billy Hart Quartet at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on Rittenhouse Square in Center City, Philadelphia.

Ars Nova Workshop founder Mark Christman talks with Susan Lewis about his goal to bring more jazz and experimental music from around the world to a host of Philadelphia venues.

Creatively Speaking
6:05 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Where Music Lives: At Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square

The Vienna Boys Choir

Music lives among the flowers at Longwood Gardens in Chester County. As Susan Lewis reports, the performing arts have always had a home at this estate-turned-botanical garden, which spans over a thousand acres with woodlands, meadows, fountains, and, of course … gardens: 20 outside and 20 in its four-acre conservatory.

Coming up at Longwood Gardens: The Vienna Boys Choir on Thursday, March 7th. Organist David Schelat on Sunday, March 10th.

Listen to Longwood Director Paul Redman share more about why the arts were so important to Longwood founder, the industrialist Pierre du Pont.

Let us know Where Music Lives in your community! Add your ideas in the comments section here and check out our other Where Music Lives posts.

Creatively Speaking
6:01 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Jail Was Heat. Purvis Young, American, 1943-2010. Paint on weathered Masonite with nailed-on pieces of various types of weathered scrap wood, 43 x 34 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The term "outsider art" came into use in the early 1970s from a French description for unrefined art. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the preferred term today is “self-taught,” and a single collection of such work is the focus of a new, major exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art's Curator of Drawings Ann Percy, curator of Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, speaks with Jim Cotter.

Creatively Speaking
6:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

The Kimmel Center Prepares For Travels In Time

Construction begins on The Time Machine that will be the centerpiece of PIFA 2013.

When the first Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) ended in May of 2011, no one knew for sure if there would be a second one. But now, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the city is preparing for PIFA 2013, a journey through time, which runs from March 28th to April 27th.

Kimmel Center President and CEO Anne Ewers speaks with Jim Cotter about PIFA 2013.

Creatively Speaking
1:43 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Yannick's Connection With Anton Bruckner

Jim Cotter speaks with Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

On The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert - a new weekly radio series on WRTI - Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin takes to the podium to conduct a symphony by one of the composers who is closest to him.  WRTI’s Jim Cotter has more.

Jim Cotter speaks with Yannick about his relationship with Bruckner’s music, and about another composer who holds a special place in his heart.

Creatively Speaking
12:00 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

All About Gioachino Rossini

Conductor Matthew Glandorf, artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, speaks with Susan Lewis about Gioachino Rossini.

Gioachino Rossini was born the last day of February in 1792. WRTI's Susan Lewis looks at the life and legacy of this prolific and celebrated operatic composer whose memorable melodies endure today.

Pages