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The Annual WRTI and Astral Artists Block Party Is On The Radio! Tune In October 17th, 11 AM to Noon

It’s a party, and you’re invited! The 3rd Annual WRTI & Astral Block Party has moved from Walnut Street,—where we’ve hosted hundreds of fans for the past two years—to WRTI 90.1 and streaming at wrti.org, where thousands can listen safely.Tune in at 11 AM on Saturday, October 17th in the last hour of Classical Coffeehouse to hear four of Astral’s stellar artists play fascinating music from today, along with beloved classical repertoire, and hear their personal insights into the music. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder is your host.

It will be an enlightening and joyful hour of music with cellist Alexander Hersh, French horn player Eric Huckins, violinistHannah Tarley, domra and mandolin player Ekaterina Skliar, and soprano Alexandra Nowakowski.

"WRTI shares common values with Astral, including the mandate to discover, present, and champion talent on the rise, says WRTI’s Associate General Manager of Content and Programming Josh Jackson. "Our missions are more necessary than ever during these challenging times. Broadcasting is a powerful medium, and we are delighted to bring the Block Party to every space this year.”

A scene from the 2019 WRTI and Astral Block Party in Center City with trombonist Brittany Lasch and WRTI's Debra Lew Harder.

“Astral has been thrilled to collaborate with WRTI on the Block Party because it represents the intersection of classical music's emerging talent, and a free, frictionless event for all Philadelphians," says Astral's Artistic Director Dan Visconti. "The fact that a young family might round the corner (as in last year's event,) and happen upon cellist Zlatomir Fung (the first American to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in nearly 40 years,) playing arrangements of The Beatles by Astral flutist Beomjae Kim is what makes the Block Party so magical—that moment of unexpected discovery and connection. We're so grateful to have WRTI's Debra Lew Harder continuing her role hosting the event by taking the Block Party onto the airwaves during this time of social distancing, and that this cherished annual event can continue.”

Alexander Hersh, cello
 Giovanni Sollima: Lamentatio
 Alfredo  Piatti: Caprice No. 7 in C Major

Eric Huckins, horn
Jack Frerer: "Bridges, Bike Lanes"
Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 2 K. 417, Mvt. III

Hannah Tarley, violin
John Harbison: "Four Songs of Solitude, No. 1"
Sir Edward Elgar: Salut d’Amour
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 2, Gigue

Ekaterina Skliar, domra/mandolin
Mozart, arr. Skliar, Two Songs for voice and mandolin (with Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano)
Vasily Shekin - "The Mountain King" based on themes of Edvard Grieg
Alexey Alexandrov - "Dance for a while" (with Alexey Alexandrov, gusli)

Warm up for the Radio Block Party with these videos!

Alexander Hersh, cello:

Hannah Tarley:

Eric Huckins, horn:

Ekaterina Skliar, domra/mandolin:

Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano:


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.