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A Special Saturday Classical Coffeehouse for Mother's Day Weekend

Saturday Morning Classical Coffeehouse Host Debra Lew Harder with daughters Lexi and Alysa

Tune in on May 9th from 6 am to 12 noon for a Mother's Day Weekend edition of Saturday Morning Classical Coffeehouse featuring music by women composers and performers, as well as classical favorites and surprises.

Listen for the colorful soundworld of African-American composers Ysaye M. Barnwell and Margaret Bonds, as well as Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. The Emerald Isle gleams in compositions by Enya and Ina Boyle.

We’ll hear the work of women composers who also had (or still have) distinguished performing careers—Amy Beach, Louise Farrenc, Gabriela Montero, Barbara Harbach, and Clara Schumann, who, by the way, was a mother to eight children!


Women will grace the playlist, including pianists Hélène Grimaud, Alicia De Laroccha, Martha Argerich, and Philadelphia-based Amy Yang in her new release. The sisterhood of the Ahn Trio, oboist Pauline Oostenrijk, marimba player Mika Stoltzman, flutist Jasmine Choi, guitarist Sharon Isbin, and trumpeter Catherine Moore, will all play for us. Opera diva and mom Anna Netrebko wil sing Antonin Dvorak’s beloved “Songs My Mother Taught Me.”

What about women and moms as muse? The first mother honored by Western composers was Mary; we’ll enjoy Anton Bruckner’s grand and gorgeous motet “Tota pulchra es, Maria” (You are totally beautiful, Mary.)

The Queen of Sheba will wield her sceptre courtesy of George Friederich Handel, played by young Dutch recorder sensation Lucie Horsch, and Joseph Lamb’s "Cleopatra Rag" will dance under the fingers of Temple University’s own Sara Davis Buechner. Wagner’s "Ride of the Valkyries" will remind us of how powerful women can be.

Finally, remember to vote for your Special Saturday Espresso! Choose from Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral, Florence Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes, and Cecile Chaminade’s Flute Concertino.

So, if you're a mom, or just owe your life to a mom (and we all do!), enjoy our special Mother’s Day Weekend edition of the Saturday Classical Coffeehouse on May 9th from 6 am to 12 noon.


Debra's last day on the air at WRTI was September 21st, 2021. She's now the radio host for The Metropolitan Opera. Read more here.