Arts Desk

Check out stories and album of the week features by Susan Lewis, Debra Lew Harder, Kevin Gordon, Maureen Malloy, Matt Silver, and Heather McDougall.

Mark Morris

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, in case there is any doubt: “Women Composers” is not a genre. Neither is “music by women,” as a category, written with any different level of skill or sensitivity than is “music by men.”

March 1, 2021. WRTI is celebrating women bandleaders and their music to commemorate Women’s History Month. This week we're shining the spotlight on The Path by Chien Chien Lu, a Taiwanese vibraphonist whose own path led her to Philly’s University of the Arts for grad school to study with vibe master Tony Miceli. This is her debut album as a leader.

March 1, 2021. We're kicking off our celebration of Women's History Month with sparkling music by Schumann and Mendelssohn presented by The Nash Ensemble of London. But it’s not Robert and Felix who have written the three pieces we’re spotlighting, but Clara and Fanny.

It feels strange calling Robert Glasper’s R+R=NOW a “supergroup” because every group Glasper leads seems worthy of that appellation. Yet, there is something particularly relevant right now about this one, which was named out of Glasper’s desire for the group’s music to be both an accurate reflection of the times and an effective and immediate response to them.

Mike Oria

Listen to any of Jimmy Bruno’s records and the lyricism, the feel, that full, round tone guitarists kill for, and that articulation—those notes live rich, sustained lives. It all presents as something that comes so easy. But it’s taken Bruno lots of years, and several stops, for it to sound that way.

PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images

Versatility is one thing; possessing the aptitude to match a boundless musical curiosity is another. Leonard Bernstein had both; Terence Blanchard also has both.

February 22, 2021. BRUITS, a new album by the trailblazing woodwind quintet Imani Winds, tackles issues of race and social justice with three contemporary works by Reena Esmail, Frederic Rzewski, and Vijay Iyer, composer of the title work. 

Max Barrett

A visionary with seemingly boundless energy, pianist Lara Downes is clearing new paths in the classical music landscape, expanding minds and spurring social change.

February 15, 2021. As WRTI celebrates Black History Month, we feature the latest release from pianist William Chapman Nyaho. Born in Ghana, Nyaho compiled and edited five invaluable volumes for Oxford University Press called Piano Music of the African Diaspora. Our Classical Album of the Week is an aural companion to the first two volumes of the set.

Drummer, scientist, educator and improviser Milford Graves died in his Queens, N.Y. home around 3 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 12. He was 79. Lois, his wife of sixty-one years, confirmed to NPR that the cause was congestive heart failure, related to a 2018 diagnosis of amyloid cardiomyopathy. Mr.

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