Arts Desk

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

November 11, 2019. Michaelle Lordi, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an emotionally insightful performer with an arrestingly beautiful sound," has a new album, Break Up with the Sound. The title comes from its very first track, “Poor Bird.” The poor bird is Lordi herself, who felt compelled with this— her fourth album—to make a break with the music that, artistically, brought her to this point.

Born in Shanghai in 1990, pianist Haochen Zhang won the Van Cliburn Competition in 2009, which launched his career. He went on to win an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2017, and today he's an international star, receiving kudos from media outlets around the globe. “Such a combination of enchanting, sensitive lyricism and hypnotizing forcefulness is a phenomenon encountered very rarely," says The Jerusalem Post. Two of his favorite things: Rachmaninoff and Philadelphia.

November 11, 2019.  It's a classical recording that celebrates family, and the importance of music in children's lives.  Our Classical Album of the Week is Winged Creatures, featuring Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of The New York Philharmonic, and his brother, Demarre McGill, principal flutist of The Seattle Symphony, performing with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, which nurtured both brothers in their early years. 

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In her remarkable career, the late Jessye Norman graced the great opera stages of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. In 2014, the American soprano remembered her first encounter with opera in a small room in Augusta, GA.

Sophie Gengembre Anderson/ Wikimedia Commons

Repulsed by the brutality against women in the story, A Thousand and One Nights, composer John Adams created a dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra where the solo violin represents a modern, young woman who stands up to her oppressors. WRTI's Susan Lewis has more on Scheherazade.2.

November 2, 2019. Guitarist, composer and arranger Peter Hand already had a lot of big band experience under his belt when he launched The Peter Hand Big Band in 2005, and it shows. The players were well-known, and the song selection was perfect for them.

November 4, 2019. Fans of The Philadelphia Orchestra know Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances as an orchestral work; it was the Russian master’s final composition, written for our own fabulous Philadelphians. But pianists are especially drawn to the Symphonic Dances in Rachmaninoff’s own arrangement for two pianos.

October 28, 2019. While the rest of us wonder how someone named Jazzmeia Horn becomes a musician who actually lives up to such a name, all Ms. Horn does is win awards, tour, and make hit records. Love and Liberation is the follow up to her Grammy-nominated debut, 2017’s A Social Call. And while A Social Call was clearly a massive hit, Horn’s sophomore effort is a lot more personal.

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Antonin Dvorak wrote his Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," soon after arriving in America in 1893.  A yearning melody from the second movement took on a new life as a popular American song that continues to be reinvented. 

October 28, 2019. It's Halloween time, when celebrations of all things scary mix in an oddly agreeable way with costumed children collecting candy door-to-door. Amidst all the theories of Halloween's beginnings and traditions worldwide, one thing we know: it's a time to bring out music that conjures spooky spirits. Our album of the week is Danse Macabre, performed by Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, conducted by Kent Nagano.