Classical Music | Nashville Public Radio

Classical Music

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For more than 200 years, the musical term "sonata" has essentially meant an instrumental solo piece, generally following a specific pattern of movements. The featured instrument might be accompanied by a piano, but the spotlight is definitely on just one player.

However, when the term first came into use it simply meant there weren't any singers involved. In the Baroque era, composers attached the sonata title to a range of compositions for small groups of musicians.

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Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck has made the banjo feel equally at home with the orchestra and string quartet. His work in bluegrass, jazz, rock, world and classical music has left him nominated in more categories than any other instrumentalist in Grammy history. He brought a blend of new and old music to Studio C.

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Each weekday on 91Classical we celebrate the end of the workday with a 5 o'clock waltz, and often our selection comes from a member of the Strauss family. Together, the composers in the family were largely responsible for the popularization of the waltz, which swept through Vienna's ballrooms beginning in the late 18th century. They're also known for composing a number of polkas, marches and other orchestral music. 

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As a musician, flutist Jessica Dunnavant wears many hats. In addition to teaching, editing and performing in a number of local ensembles, she's well-versed in the vast body of flute repertoire. This week she brought a thoughtful collection of solo flute music spanning eras, styles and cultural influences, including a work composed by one of her own teachers, Charles DeLaney. 

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Chances are, you've heard one. From the pages of J.S. Bach's preludes and fugues, to circus big tops and churches on Sunday mornings, the pipe organ's distinct timbre has served as the soundtrack to a wide variety of cultural activities and rituals.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Even with Live in Studio C's commitment to local music, it's a treat when a performance consists entirely of brand new music from Nashville composers, performed by local musicians (including those composers), all inspired by the sights and sounds of Tennessee. In other words, it doesn't get much more local than this week's performance from ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. 

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When guitarist Joey Grimaldi met husband and wife clarinettists Leonel Marulanda and Laura Bouffard, he jumped at the chance to compose a piece for their unique trio of instruments. What resulted was the heavy metal-influenced Trio for Two Clarinets and Guitar, which was played alongside works by Poulenc and Piazzolla this week on Live Studio C

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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. 

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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. 

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