Founded in Philadelphia in 1876, J.W. Pepper has a long history connected to its seminal role in the proliferation of music to bands, churches, choirs, orchestras, and school ensembles across the United States. Its publication of sheet music extends from the day of the town band, through the birth of jazz and rock, to the present.
One of classical music’s superstars plays all over the world, appears on large and small screens, makes multiple recordings, and also conducts. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Itzhak Perlman is passionate about passing on music in the classroom as well.
The Austrian-born conductor Manfred Hoeneck has led a storied life. His first exposure to music was through learning folk music on the traditional mid-European lute, the zither. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, his journey onward from the Vienna Philharmonic to Pittsburgh and beyond is reflected in a favorite symphony by a composer the conductor regards as a fellow traveler.
Philadelphia theatergoers visiting New York for Shakespeare's Globe on Broadway may stumble upon a surprisingly familiar sight: Priscilla Smith Herreid, a member of the Philadelphia Renaissance wind bandPiffaro,playing shawms and bagpipes to accompany the beheadings in Richard III as well as the comic complications of Twelfth Night. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stea
Cities beyond Philadelphia may have restaurants with operatic themes and even singing servers, but how many are the outgrowth of a gramophone shop? The walls of The Victor Cafe are full of reminders of a time when recording artists signed autographs at the shop or came in to sing.
As we approach year's end, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns looks back on the past 12 months in music and finds that Philadelphia has been moving steadily toward the cutting edge.
The city’s year in classical music started with the John Cage Beyond Silence Festival and a new opera titled Wolf in Skins with a stage full of animal/human hybrids. 2013 ends with the U.S. Premiere of a major choral work by Wolfgang Rihm, Germany's greatest but most complicated composer.
Handel’s Messiah, originally composed for performance during the springtime Christian observance of Lent, has become a contemporary staple of Christmas celebrations in modern America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this 18th-century oratorio.
Philadelphia’s role in the formation of our government is characteristic of a time when the city and its leading residents were forging firsts of all kinds. As Handel’s Messiah is performed this holiday season, WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston wondered when and where those first citizens might have heard the great Baroque work.
Linda Wood is assistant head librarian in the music department at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She compiled several reference materials relating to the first performance and other early performances of Handel’s Messiah.