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

Photo courtesy of Nashville Symphony

The Nashville Symphony’s Family Series begins this Saturday with “Pirates! The Quest for Blackbeard’s Treasure,” a program that features swashbuckling-themed music geared towards the symphony’s youngest listeners.

In addition to pre-concert activities that include craft stations and an instrument petting zoo, the entire series (which includes three more concerts extending into next year) is now described as “sensory friendly,” with modifications for autistic audience members and individuals with sensory processing differences.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

From vocal imitations of the sounds of combat in 16th century madrigal battaglias, to the sweeping music of Wagner’s Valkyries deciding the fates of warriors below, classical music has long been inspired by conflict, wartime triumphs, and military prowess.

But as today marks the International Day of Peace, a United Nations-sanctioned holiday dedicated to the absence of war and conflict, we’re shining a light on classical music penned by pacifist composers and work inspired by notions of peace. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

We're excited to introduce Notes in the Margin, a series where we'll share books that we think 91Classical listeners will enjoy, whether it be a composer biography, a riveting piece of music scholarship, or a novel with a plot that is particularly musical. In addition to interviews with authors, we'll also be including a hand-picked playlist to accompany each book, so you can kick back and listen while you read. 

Library of Congress, Music Division

As we approach what would have been the Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday on August 25th, musicians and listeners all over the world have been celebrating with performances and tributes throughout the year.

On September 8th, 91Classical will live broadcast the Nashville Symphony's Bernstein Centennial Opening Night, featuring an all-Bernstein program. Tune in to hear it at 8pm. 

Sally Bebawy / Nashville Symphony

Parents snapped cell phone photos and looked on with pride as the beaming new class of Nashville Symphony's Accelerando program was introduced at the Schermerhorn last week. This class marks the program's third year of preparing gifted young students for careers in classical music through mentoring, performance opportunities and private lessons with Nashville Symphony musicians. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Unless you’re keeping a close eye on a calendar of bizarre, fringe holidays, you probably aren’t aware that today is Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day. We here at 91Classical love a holiday, and we certainly aren’t going to miss celebrating one all about musical instruments. Join in the festivities and boost your awareness of unusual instruments with this collection of musical oddities that you definitely won't hear every day.

Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

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. 

Wikimedia Commons

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.