Debra Lew Harder

Classical Host, Arts Desk Reporter

A concert pianist, teacher, and writer, Debra has always believed in the power of art to transform people's lives.

Debra has performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., and in solo recital and lecture-recital at Wigmore Hall in London, The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, the Xavier University Piano Series in Cincinnati,  American University in Washington, D.C., the historic Barocksaal in Rostock, Germany, New York City’s Merkin Hall, Haverford College's Guest Artists Series, the Jefferson Medical College Dean's Concert Series, the Legg-Mason Annual Intellectual Capital Conference, and at Camden-Rutgers University.

She was the founder of the Grand Piano Concert Series in Columbus, Ohio, and has appeared in collaboration with many artists, including Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim, cellist Efe Balticigil, violinists Hirono Oka and Barbara Govatos, and many others. Her piano trio, Trio Miresol, is a popular presence around the Philadelphia region.

Debra earned a medical degree and practiced as an emergency room physician before earning a second doctorate in music from the Ohio State University, where she studied with, and served as teaching assistant to, the legendary American virtuoso Earl Wild.

A devoted music educator, Debra has taught at The Ohio State University and currently is on the piano faculty of Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Her creative output includes nationally published essays, as well as numerous transcriptions for solo piano from the jazz, orchestral and non-Western repertoire.

Debra is now thrilled to be curating and hosting WRTI's Saturday Classical Coffeehouse, every Saturday morning.

With her husband Tom, she lives in the Philadelphia area; they have two wonderful daughters, an equally wonderful son-in-law, and an incorrigible terrier.

Hear Debra on Saturday mornings for Classical Coffeehouse, 6 am to 12 noon, and as a substitute host during weekday classical hours. She also produces Arts Desk features, which you can see below.
 

Ways to Connect

October 1, 2018. Over-practicing is always dangerous, even for a superstar pianist with seemingly invincible technique. In April, 2017, when Lang Lang announced an intractable left arm injury due to “a stupid practice of Ravel’s left hand concerto,” many worried that he would never be able to return to the concert stage at all, let alone with his signature, over-the-top exuberance.

Join me on September 29th from 6 AM to noon for a glorious morning of music, including works by Norwegian composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo. Gregg Whiteside will be co-hosting the show, so it will be extra delighful.

September 24, 2018. Ever since Leonard Bernstein introduced him to televeision audiences as a 7-year-old prodigy, cellist Yo-Yo Ma has captured the public’s imagination over a 50-plus year career. From concert stage appearances, to Sesame Street, to American Presidential inaugurations, Yo-Yo Ma is a shining presence everywhere. Our album of the week showcases why.

September 17, 2018. Newly released by Deutsche Grammophon, Daniel Barenboim’s interpretation of Johannes Brahms’ four symphonies with the Staatskapelle Berlin is our Album of the Week.

Amanda Westcott

Listen to this sneak preview of the WRTI 90.1/Astral Artists block party with dynamic young musicians Christine Lamprea, cello, and Xavier Foley, double-bass playing live in the WRTI Performance Studio hosted by Debra Lew Harder.

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.

Klezmer music so beautifully expresses the joys and pains of life. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder takes us into its rich world and heritage with Klezmer scholar and musician Hankus Netsky. A Happy and Healthy New Year to all of our listeners celebrating the Jewish High Holidays!

September 3, 2018. When was the last time you heard the sound of the solo flute, without accompaniment of any kind for an entire album? Monotonous? On the contrary, The Telemann Files, with flutist Jasmine Choi captivates the listener from start to finish. Her 2015 release of the complete Fantasias for Solo Flute by Georg Philipp Telemann is our Album of the Week.

Opera star Renée Fleming sang the Irish ballad "Danny Boy" at the memorial service for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Senator McCain, who died August 25 of brain cancer, asked that Ms. Fleming sing the song at his memorial service, which will took place at the Washington National Cathedral.

August 27, 2018. Nineteen-year old British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has been riding a media wave since winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016. Millions watched his performance this past May at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Sheku’s debut recording, Inspiration, released earlier this year by London-Decca, is our album of the week.

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