Susan Lewis

Arts & Culture Senior Producer

Susan is an arts and culture reporter for WRTI. She contributes Arts Desk features, and weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast series on WRTI with host Gregg Whiteside.

She is also a freelance essayist, journalist, and speechwriter who has written about Philadelphia for Insight Guides and Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's Culture Files.  A former columnist for Philadelphia Magazine, she is the author of Reinventing Ourselves after Motherhood and a book of essays. Her work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Child Magazine, Parents Magazine, Reader's Digest and Ladies' Home Journal (Parents Digest).

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Susan is also a lawyer, with a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College, Connecticut, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She has practiced law in New York City and taught entertainment law at Rutgers Law School in Camden.

Ways to Connect

There are very few tuba concertos in the classical repertoire - Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1954 work is among a handful. But in his work, Reflections on the Missippi, composer Michael Daugherty explores the largely untapped lyricism of the instrument.   

Piper Ferguson

Composer, musician, and bandleader Wynton Marsalis has won multiple Grammys for jazz and classical recordings, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Music.  The artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1987, he’s also a writer, advocate, and thought leader about issues in American culture.

Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra

A classical percussionist takes on the music of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has the story of a concerto for vibraphone and marimba, arranged by Christopher Deviney, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal percussionist.

When can music composed for a film stand on its own? WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on how John Williams’ suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind translates to the concert stage.

July 12, 2021. Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux, a Pat Metheny fan for years, plays a beautiful four-movement composition for solo guitar that the jazz great wrote for him for the album, Road to the Sun, which also features the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet playing the title piece.  Vieaux tells the story of how Four Paths of Light came to be.

courtesy of Orlando and Patricia Haddad

Composer Orlando Haddad, known especially for the original Brazilian jazz he performs with his musical and life partner Patricia King Haddad in their duo Minas, has a new classical work for chamber ensemble. Commissioned by Orchestra 2001, and inspired by folklore about the Amazon rainforest, Lendas Amazônicas integrates elements of both Brazilian music and the western classical canon.

*You can hear this work in its entirety at the bottom of this post. 

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. 

Getty Images/Hutton Archive

In 1925, George Gershwin was known for his popular songs, Broadway music, and his Rhapsody in Blue. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he then tackled another classical form with his Piano Concerto in F.

For bass John T.K. Scherch, radio announcing became the perfect complement to his budding career as a classical singer. Now fulfilling both dreams, he’s the new voice you’ll hear each weekday morning from 6 to 10 AM on WRTI 90.1.

Bagpipes often play at police and firefighter funerals, but they also play at celebrations.  And in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes & Drums play everything from "Amazing Grace" to the Rocky theme, to music in concert with The Philadelphia Orchestra.