Debra-Lew Harder, Piano
Pianist and broadcaster Debra Lew Harder has performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., and in solo recital and lecture-recital at Wigmore Hall in London, The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, the Xavier University Piano Series in Cincinnati, American University in Washington, D.C., the Colorado Music Fest, the historic Barocksaal in Rostock, Germany, New York City’s Merkin Hall, Haverford College’s Guest Artists Series, the Jefferson Medical College Dean’s Concert Series, the Legg-Mason Annual Intellectual Capital Conference, on the Guest Artist Series at Temple University, and at Camden-Rutgers University. As a collaborative pianist, she performs with her piano trio, Trio MiReSol.
A devoted music educator, Debra Lew Harder has doctorates in both music and medicine, and currently teaches at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Her commitment to the arts community includes service on the boards of Tri-County Artists, and on advisory committees for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Presser Foundation. Her creative output includes nationally published essays, as well as numerous transcriptions for solo piano from the medieval, jazz, orchestral and non-Western repertoire.
Tune in to hear Debra host her new curated Saturday morning show on WRTI, 90.1 FM in Philadelphia, “Saturday Classical Coffeehouse with Debra Lew Harder.” She also conducts Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast interviews, hosts live-to-broadcast performances, and produces arts news features for the station. With her husband Tom she lives in the Philadelphia area; they have two grown daughters.
Classical Jukebox Artist Feature
1. How long have you been a host at WRTI?
This coming April will mark my second year at WRTI, and in broadcasting. I’m very grateful to have found this new way of sharing my love of music with a wide audience, and to help make an impact in our community through public media.
2. Who/what gave you the passion to pursue music? Why? How?
My dad has a beautiful tenor voice, and always blasted opera on the sound system at 6 a.m. (or so it seemed to me) when I was growing up, to wake us kids! My first performance at age seven was accompanying his solo at church, in “The Old Rugged Cross.” Dad is definitely a bit of a ham, and I inherited my love of music and of communicating from him.
3. Why did you choose to play Brahms Trio, Op. 114?
I have always felt close to the late works of Johannes Brahms, especially the piano pieces and chamber music, for their intimacy and poetry. I’m thrilled to be playing the first movement of the Brahms Clarinet Trio with Rie and Glenn.
4. Do you have a funny stage/or WRTI story?
Funny story: One evening during a solo piano recital, I was near the end of a lyrical and contemplative Chopin Nocturne, when somebody’s cell phone started going off. The person in the audience would not shut it off. After awhile, I came to realize that the cell phone was my own, going off backstage! I took a bow, excused myself, ran backstage and turned it off. Needless to say, from then on, I’ve made sure “all electronic devices are turned off” before a performance, whether somebody else’s or my own!