Arts Desk

Throughout the week

Listen to WRTI's Arts Desk features for a daily look into music in the Philadelphia region.

August 3, 2020. This is is Beethoven’s 250th anniversary birth year. It’s also the year the coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of countless live concert tributes to Beethoven across the globe. This calamitous turn of events makes the release of important Beethoven recordings especially welcome.

Courtesy of Chris' Jazz Café

When Center City Philadelphia's Chris' Jazz Café closed its doors in March because of the Coronavirus, the world-famous venue was already a couple of months into a quiet revamp, offering live streaming performances as a natural option for its patrons.

Philadelphia's All City Music Program has been teaching kids for over 70 years. The All City Orchestra Summer Academy—ACOSA, now in its second year—is going one step further, teaching the technology skills students need to share their music in 2020 and beyond.

What has been life been like for Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon since the start of the pandemic? In this late May, 2020 TIME IN interview with WRTI’s Susan Lewis, Jennifer shares how the COVID-19 shutdown has influenced her writing and teaching, and prompted her to explore new activities, including listening to a certain podcast and driving the first car she's owned in 22 years!

July 20, 2020. The last complete set of string quartets that Josef Haydn composed, a set of six, Op. 76, are among his most ambitious chamber works, deviating from their predecessors in their near-continual exchange of motifs between instruments.

David Swanson

It was 1931 when Eleanor Blum arrived in Philadelphia at age 17 to study piano at the Curtis Institute of Music—and she never left. "Mrs. Sokoloff," as she was known to students and educators alike at the storied conservatory, died on July 12, 2020 at age 106 of natural causes. She taught at Curtis, the place she called home, for more than 84 years, and was planning to teach this fall despite the pandemic.

In the mid-19th century, there were few performance opportunities for large-scale works by women composers. Today, a symphony composed in the 1840s by French pianist, teacher and composer Louise Farrenc is finally getting well-deserved attention on the concert stage in Philadelphia.

July 6. 2020. Belle époque, or “beautiful era,” represents the time in European history between the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the onset of World War I (1914) when science and the arts flourished. Violinist Daniel Hope explores the music of the Belle époque in his 17th release for Deutsche Grammophon.

How does music help us find our identity and also bring people together with different backgrounds? Candace Allen—a contributor to the BBC and The Guardian, and author of Soul Music: The Pulse of Race and Music—shares her thoughts on recent events, and how music can respond, in a conversation with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Pages