Arts Desk

Listen to WRTI's Arts Desk features for a daily look into the world of music, arts, and culture. Listen to brief features throughout the day!

A bestiary in the Middle Ages was a book of illustrations of animals, each accompanied by a moral lesson.   Sir James MacMillan’s musical bestiary for organ and orchestra is informed by his Scottish background, different musical traditions, and a sharp sense of social satire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

When it comes to batons, one size does NOT fit all. Length, material, and handle are all a matter of individual preference.  Want to know what the professionals look for?  Here are ten facts about the tool that quickly fades into the musical landscape shaped by the person commanding it.

History has painted composer Anton Bruckner as a simple man who gave the world complex and innovative symphonies. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Bruckner’s 8th, which premiered in December of 1892.

Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018

Edward Hopper’s 1962 painting, Road and Trees, now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, finds musical expression in a new work for chamber orchestra, which Network for New Music premieres Sunday, July 22 at the PMA. Composer Pierre Jalbert talked with WRTI’s Susan Lewis about his three-movement piece for woodwinds, strings, and percussion: Light, Line, Shadow.

Dayne Topkin/Unsplash

A group of high school girls are spending two weeks this July on the Temple University campus, immersing themselves in the world of music composition. They're taking classes in music theory, ear training, and composition of orchestral scores and songs, using electronic as well as acoustic music.

Jennifer Higdon’s concerto, On a Wire, was inspired by images of birds, as well as the innovative versatility of the musicians of Eighth Blackbird, the contemporary soloist ensemble. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Julian Hargreaves

Described by critics as “preternaturally gifted," and his music “spellbinding," violinist Ray Chen performs all over the world. He's also distinguishing himself off the concert stage with over 100 YouTube videos ranging from zany comedy to a motivational series.

In correspondence with a patron, Tchaikovsky confessed he was grappling with the idea of fate in his Symphony No. 4. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the composer tried to make sense of his world with music that still resonates today. Listen to her conversation with Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

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