Arts Desk

Throughout the week

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

Jack Bradley Collection, Louis Armstrong House Museum

Describing Louis Armstrong biographer Ricky Riccardi as merely enthusiastic about Satchmo would be a gross understatement. It’s easier to say he’s dedicated his professional career to setting—and resetting—Armstrong’s historic life to record.

Philadelphia's Best Of The Bass, Part 1 includes WRTI's 8 favorite bebop and hard bop players. The list of some of the most impactful bass players to have come out of Philadelphia continues with this group of jazz, rock, funk, and fusion bassists.


Wikipedia Commons

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony premiered in 1808 and was praised as "one of the most important works of the time" by critic E.T.A. Hoffman. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores why, in the more than 200 years since, the work retains its extraordinary appeal.


University of Pennsylvania: Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs, 1898-1992

One of America’s most admired civil rights icons, though she disliked the label, wasn’t a political or religious figure—she was a singer with a “rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty," in the words of opera critic Alan Blyth. She was Marian Anderson (1897-1993), and she called Philadelphia home. 

As leader of the internationally acclaimed Opera Philadelphia, David Devan is accustomed to an incredibly busy schedule with frequent travel and hosting cast parties, donor events, and other large gatherings in his Philadelphia loft.

PhotoQuest/Getty Images

It was a 1925 novel, then a Broadway play, before George Gershwin worked with novelist DuBose Heyward to create one of the first American operas. Today, the beloved music of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess lives on—and off— the opera stage.

August 17, 2020. Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto was born into a world of global turmoil and personal strife for the composer. Against the backdrop of the grim aftermath of WWI, the concerto was composed in 1919 during a period of illness for Elgar. A short time later, his wife Alice died in the wake of the piece’s troubled premiere.

August 10, 2020. Even if you're staying home this summer, you can still take a trip around the world with violinist Lisa Batiashvili and her innovative new album, City Lights—a wonderful collection of musical portraits of cities that have played a part in her life and career. The album takes its name from Charlie Chaplin's famous film, and sets the tone for the tour with music by a wide range of composers including Chaplin himself.

M. Nicole Fischer

With a career as a concert soloist launched at a very young age, and then a debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic when she was just 8, violinist Sarah Chang continues to perform with world-class ensembles across the globe. She's been honored for her leadership in the arts by the World Economic Forum and Harvard University, and was named Artistic Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State in 2011. 

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.

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