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 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.
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.
Jazz vocalist, author, and playwright Suzanne Cloud spent about eight months researching Dizzy Gillespie’s life, and writingLast Call at the Downbeat: The Dizzy Gillespie Story. The production debuted in 2013 at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, April 6 at 1 pm features several works of a celebrated Russian composer, conductor and pianist who had a close relationship with the ensemble. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the concert will be led by someone with connections of his own to the music and the man.
Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, would have turned 99 on April 7, 2014. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in her short career, this Philadelphia-born singer made a huge impact on jazz and American song.