The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI 90.1: Rachmaninoff and More! Sept. 30 at 1 PM

WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday and Monday brings you the unfamiliar and the very familiar: a first-ever Philadelphia Orchestra performance of a violin concerto by the contemporary Dutch composer Michel van der Aa , and a work the Orchestra has performed as often as any in its history, the Symphony No. 2 by Rachmaninoff , conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

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Henry Grossman; Courtesy of Bernice Horowitz

When Leonard Bernstein’s baton broke during a rehearsal of Candide in the early 1970s, who was summoned to repair it? Richard Horowitz, who at the time was principal timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Jan Regan/The Philadelphia Orchestra

Great news! In October, WRTI will broadcast four concerts from the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer residency in Saratoga Springs, New York for listeners back home.

Jamie Bernstein can't call her childhood a typical one. On any given weekend, she might find Lauren Bacall, Isaac Stern, Richard Avedon, Mike Nichols, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman or Sidney Lumet hanging out at her house. Jamie's father was Leonard Bernstein.

In the world of jazz, most musicians choose one single thing and get as good as humanly possible at it, but not Camille Thurman. She's known as a double threat: The rare jazz musician who has mastered both a highly technical instrument — in her case, the saxophone — and sings. Thurman's vocals have been compared to Ella Fitzgerald. Her latest album, Waiting for the Sunrise, is out now.

Library of Congress, Music Division

Conceived in 1949, West Side Story has a serious message that pleads for racial tolerance, delivered in unforgettable song and dance. People have been listening to that message, and humming the songs, ever since the show premiered on Broadway in 1957 and debuted on the silver screen in 1961.


Courtesy of the Bernstein family

As a 16-year-old “musical theatre kid,” I’ve always linked the name Leonard Bernstein with West Side Story, and those familiar songs that never fail to bring a smile to my face, from "America" to "Somewhere." I love them all.

Gift of Henny Durmashkin Gurko, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NY

A 29-year-old Leonard Bernstein stands next to Holocaust survivors—members of the Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra. They’re at a displaced persons camp in Germany in May 1948, four years after their liberation from the Nazi death camps. 

August 20, 2018. Our featured album is not one, but a trove of sixteen albums in a box set called This is Leonard Bernstein: His Greatest Recordings. Released for the 100th birthday celebration of America’s most multifaceted musical genius, this carefully curated collection reveals Bernstein as conductor, composer, and pianist.

August 20, 2018. Percussionist and bandleader Bobby Sanabria first saw West Side Story when he was a young boy living in the Bronx.   Leonard Bernstein's music floored Sanabria, who thought it epitomized the cool factor found only in New York City.  Years later, in West Side Story Reimagined, Sanabria presents Bernstein's enduring music from his own perspective as "a jazz musician, a Latin musician and native Nuyorican son."

Aretha Franklin Touched Us All

Aug 19, 2018

The “Queen of Soul” has passed away. Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit earlier today. She was 76. Her publicist said the cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

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WRTI Arts Desk

A melody in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony was made famous to fans of Eric Carmen’s pop tune “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.” But in the symphony, that melody leads to one of the most beautiful, and difficult, clarinet solos in the literature. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story.

Peter Ralston

If you think of Andrew Wyeth primarily as a realist landscape painter who bucked the trends of the mid 20th-century art world, get ready to meet the artist anew.  The documentary film WYETH sheds new light on his life and art, through conversations with the people he knew as family, neighbors and subjects, and archival interviews with the artist himself. 

By Office of Emergency Management [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

America was celebrating its bicentennial when Michael Tilson Thomas first became intrigued by a Carl Sandburg poem. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, nearly 40 years later,  he premiered his musical setting of  Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind with a cautionary message still relevant today.


Jordan August/Mann Center for the Performing Arts

It's football season! We're excited to watch the plays on the field from the snaps to the passes to the touchdowns. Football also means music. WRTI's Susan Lewis went to NFL Films in Mount Laurel, NJ to get the scoop about how football films use the rich sound of orchestral music to help tell their stories.

September 10, 2018. A happy and healthy New Year to all our listeners celebrating the Jewish High Holidays! And for ALL our listeners, here’s our delightful Album of the Week: Between Worlds with Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital.

Avital is acclaimed for his recordings of Baroque classical masters J.S. Bach and Vivaldi. Between Worlds, released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2014, is something entirely different.

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