Classically Speaking | Nashville Public Radio

Classically Speaking

Nashville’s backstage pass to classical music. Host Colleen Phelps interviews composers, conductors, and instrumentalists for an in-depth look at their repertoire and life in the orchestra. Get closer to classical music in Music City.


Kara McLeland / 91Classical

Four friends got together and started a band? That's so Nashville. The friends are a violinist, cellist, lute player, and countertenor? Yep. Still very Nashville. 

Kara McLeland / 91Classical

For Wu Fei, playing by heart doesn't mean playing from memory. It means improvisation.

We're not changing our tune, but we are changing our name.

Kara McLeland/Nashville Public Radio

This Classically Speaking mixtape walks across the fine line between classical music and American folk music. 

Robert Schumann was just 20 years old when he started composing his Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 in 1830. It took him eight years to complete it, and over the course of that time Schumann experienced both major setbacks and tremendous joy – emotions you can feel in the contours of the sonata. 

Kara McLeland/Nashville Public Radio

While thoughts of love, sex and power dominate Nashville Ballet's Lucy Negro Redux, for Rhiannon Giddens the work is about uncovering a hidden part of history.

Wilma Jensen, soon to turn age 90, has come a long way since the first mention of her playing in print, calling her "the youngest organist in Methodism." Although, given that she was 11 years old at the time, the author was probably correct.

Not every instrument you hear on 91Classical can be found in the orchestra.

Karyn Photography / Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling says that Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is all about magic.

The Violins of Hope took residence in Nashville in early 2018. For months, they were displayed, discussed, and even played.