Keeping Score | Nashville Public Radio

Keeping Score

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.


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.

There's an unspoken rule in classical music that 5th symphonies are not to be taken lightly.

There is a section of the orchestra that is not always in the same place. Sometimes they are up, sometimes down. Sometimes they sit on stage for a half hour before they play a single note. But when it's their turn, you definitely hear them: it's the percussion section.

In 1795 composer Franz Josef Haydn was handed a libretto — something for which a symphonist would have no need. The title was "The Creation of the World." Nashville Symphony Chorus director Tucker Biddlecombe describes the piece it became, Haydn's Creation, as a gateway piece of orchestral music for choral singers.

When asked to estimate how many times he has performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C min, Op. 37, Yefim Bronfman leaned back, sighed, and guessed, "Oh... surely at least 100 times."

"Short, short, short, long" is not so exciting when you read it out in words. But for composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Christopher Rouse, it was fate set to music.