Classical Music | Nashville Public Radio

Classical Music

Heather Thorne / Nashville Ballet

This weekend, the Nashville Ballet performs a dance about immigrants that began in the pubs of London. Sergeant Early’s Dream delves into the difficulties that drove so many Irish and Scottish in the 18th and 19th centuries to leave their homes and forge new lives in America.

Javier Perianes

Spanish pianist Javier Perianes makes his Nashville debut this weekend, playing a somewhat unusual concerto with the Nashville Symphony. Camille Saint-Saens’s Second is now the most performed of the composer’s piano concertos, but early audiences weren’t sure what to make of it.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

This season, Clarksville's Gateway Chamber Orchestra is using music to examine elements that make Middle Tennessee what it is. In a nod to both nearby Fort Campbell and the impact of the Civil War on the region, the performance coming up this weekend focuses on the military. The orchestra will play the military symphony by Haydn, Ravel's Le Tombeau du Couperin, which was inspired by friends of the composer lost in World War I, and John Adams's setting of Walt Whitman's poem about caring for Civil War wounded.

Black musicians have been making their mark on classical music for centuries, even if they haven't always been afforded the spotlight they deserve. As Black History Month begins, here's a look back at a few of the black composers who made significant contributions to the genre. 

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Blakemore Trio is preparing to go on the road. The ensemble, made up of faculty from Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music, will soon go on a tour of California, with performances in San Diego, Los Angeles and Desert Springs. In Studio C, pianist Amy Dorfmann, violinist Carolyn Huebl and Felix Wang shared a taste of the program they'll be taking to the West Coast.

Mickey Dobo / Nashville Symphony

The Nashville Symphony's next season offers quite a bit of familiar music — like Beethoven's Fifth, Verdi's Requiem, Stravinksy's Firebird and Also Sprach Tharathustra. Those warhorses are balanced out by new music from contemporary composers, including one world premiere. 

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Each year, students at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music compete to earn their place in a student showcase. Blair's Kristin Whittlesey brought a few of this year's performers in for a sneak peak of the show, which takes place Friday night at 8:00.

photographer unknown, circa 1939 / Wikimedia Commons

The broad strokes of Etty Hillesum’s life before World War II were not particularly remarkable. Her father was a Dutch school master, and her mother was one of many Russian Jews who fled the pogroms of their homeland to make a new life Western Europe.

Hillesum herself wasn’t a particularly good student, although she was interested in languages. Her brother was a very skilled pianist, but she showed no particular aptitude for music. She worked as a housekeeper. She had a romantic relationship with her boss.

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Space Institute / Wikimedia Commons

Spaceflight was just a theoretical possibility when Gustav Holst wrote his musical exploration of our solar system. 

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

On this week's program, we got the rare treat of hearing a group of musicians try on a new ensemble for size. Matt Davich, who we often hear on saxophone, brought his clarinet to Studio C along with friends Jeff Lisenby (accordian, piano) and Emily Nelson (cello). They played a handful of tunes with echoes of European and South American folk traditions, along with one of opera's greatest hits.

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