Kara McLeland | Nashville Public Radio

Kara McLeland

Classical Music Host

A Wyoming native, Kara relocated to Tennessee in 2005 to earn an undergraduate degree in voice performance and composition from Belmont University and a master’s degree in musicology from MTSU.

In addition to hosting on Classical 91.1, she has taught courses in music history and appreciation at Belmont and MTSU. She is also a singer-songwriter, an active member of the Nashville theatre community, and a lover of photography, books, and dogs. She and her husband Ryan live in Nashville with their daughter, Rooney, and goldendoodle, Wallace. 

 

Ways to Connect

Ben White / Wikimedia Commons

The music of Charles Ives and Aaron Copland — born in Connecticut and New York, respectively — might be among what comes to mind when considering quintessentially "American" music. But as we celebrate Independence Day this year, here's a look at American-inspired music from a different perspective: that of composers who weren't born in the United States. 

Noelle Panepento / The Wu-Force

In the vein of 91Classical's Classical Crossroads, our programming feature that explores the blurring of lines between Western classical and other traditions, here's the third in our series of digital mixtapes. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

This week in Studio C, the spotlight was on students who are wrapping up nearly a month of intense study at the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts. Of the 331 teenagers at the school this year, 166 are studying music. A handful of those students stopped by to give performances of the repertoire they've been working on. 

Becky Cohen / Courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust

Queer composers have been creating music throughout history. Archaic Greek poet Sappho, for instance, was penning homoerotic song lyrics on the island of Lesbos as early as the 7th century BC. In many cases, though, the politics of culture and time may have prevented them from being completely open about their identities—and musicologists have for years pondered and debated over the sexual orientation of some of classical music history’s biggest names.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Each summer since 1985, talented students from all over Tennessee have gathered in Murfreesboro for a month-long residency arts program, mentored by some of the best faculty members from the state and beyond. And each summer, we look forward to welcoming musicians from the Tennessee Governor's School of the Arts to Live in Studio C. This week features music from the school's faculty; next week, we'll hear from their students. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

While the Nashville Symphony is just wrapping up the second year of its Accelerando program, they are already looking forward to its long-term results. Meant to foster the talent of young musicians from underrepresented ethnicities, the initiative works to prepare students for careers in the classical field with private lessons from Nashville Symphony players, among other perks.

Walter Bitner, the Symphony's Director of Education and Community Engagement, hopes that in the decades to come, Accelerando will help orchestras "begin to look more like their communities." Representing Accelerando for Live in Studio C was 16-year-old violist Emily Martinez-Perez and 17-year-old flutist Aalia Hanif, and audiences can hear a concert from all of the Accelerando students at the Schermerhorn on June 11

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

After nearly 20 years of welcoming musicians into our studio for weekly performances, Will Griffin hosted his final Live in Studio C this week before retiring. For a proper celebratory send-off, the Tantsova Grupa ensemble performed a lively set of traditional Eastern European dance music. 

Photo courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Over the course of his imprisonment in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, musician Rafael Schächter gathered a chorus of singers to perform Giuseppi Verdi's Reqiuem—first in secret, and finally for a performance in front of high-ranking Nazi officials— over a dozen times. For many of the performers, including Schächter, it would be the last music they would hear before being transported to their deaths at Auschwitz.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

While Christopher Farrell has been a violist with the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he was in Studio C this week as a composer – a skill he's spent the last decade honing. He brought with him his friends and colleagues, cellist Sari Reist, bassist Tim Pearson and pianist Megan Gale to perform new music written this year and last. Both pieces are part of Farrell's larger project to write a sonata for each string instrument.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

As one of Nashville's premiere vocal groups, Portara Ensemble's repertoire spans a wide range of genres and styles. Director Jason Shelton brought the ensemble and one of their diverse programs to the studio in advance of their June 3rd concert, called "Home." The performance will be a benefit for Open Table Nashville, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness. And while the program might cover a range of styles — including a stunning performance of a traditional spiritual and the world premiere of a new work with words provided by members of the ensemble — the pieces are all thematically tied together by the idea of home.  

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