Arts Desk

Check out stories by WRTI arts reporters Susan Lewis,  Debra Lew Harder, and Maureen Malloy. Arts Desk and Arts News Submission Guidelines

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.

July 16, 2018. Lynne Arriale has a special relationship with the piano.  It’s apparent as soon as you hear a few bars of her playing on Give Us These Days. Double bassist Jasper Somsen and drummer Jasper van Hulton add the magic that makes this album distinct.

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.

July 9, 2018. Violinist Ray Chen is a local luminary who is lighting up classical music worldwide.  He’s appeared with orchestras across the U.S. and throughout Europe, and began recording with Sony Classics in 2010. Now 29, he has an engaging new CD, his first with Decca Classics—The Golden Age—which we are celebrating as Album of the Week.

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.

July 9, 2018.  New music from John Coltrane!  I bet you thought you’d never hear that again—until this recording from 1963 surfaced. Trane and his classic quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones were on the cusp of a transformation. In John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album you can hear it from the first notes.

July 3, 2018. I’ve always been a great admirer of Seiji Ozawa, and this Beethoven disc shows precisely why. Ozawa, joined by piano superstar Martha Argerich, gives us a spirited, almost bubbly, performance. The handpicked musicians in the Mito Chamber Orchestra complement the artistry contained in Beethoven: Symphony No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 1.

Becca Fay

Puccini’s opera Tosca has all the elements of a grand melodrama, including overwhelming passion, torture, and murder. But the character of Tosca is also very human, says the soprano who sings the title role in several recent and upcoming productions. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

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