Classical Music | Nashville Public Radio

Classical Music

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

While the Nashville Symphony is just wrapping up the second year of its Accelerando program, they are already looking forward to its long-term results. Meant to foster the talent of young musicians from underrepresented ethnicities, the initiative works to prepare students for careers in the classical field with private lessons from Nashville Symphony players, among other perks.

Walter Bitner, the Symphony's Director of Education and Community Engagement, hopes that in the decades to come, Accelerando will help orchestras "begin to look more like their communities." Representing Accelerando for Live in Studio C was 16-year-old violist Emily Martinez-Perez and 17-year-old flutist Aalia Hanif, and audiences can hear a concert from all of the Accelerando students at the Schermerhorn on June 11

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

After nearly 20 years of welcoming musicians into our studio for weekly performances, Will Griffin hosted his final Live in Studio C this week before retiring. For a proper celebratory send-off, the Tantsova Grupa ensemble performed a lively set of traditional Eastern European dance music. 

Julietta Martinelli / Nashville Public Radio

Few people have ever known the ins and outs of 91Classical’s music library as well as Will Griffin. He’s worked with this music longer than anyone else at the station, and maintaining and adding to the collection was an important part of his job.

Kara McLeland / WPLN

Will Griffin has been a quiet, constant voice on Nashville Public Radio for 33 years. He's held nearly every hosting role at the station — Morning Edition, All Things Considered and, most recently, as a host at 91Classical. He retires this week.

Photo courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Over the course of his imprisonment in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, musician Rafael Schächter gathered a chorus of singers to perform Giuseppi Verdi's Reqiuem—first in secret, and finally for a performance in front of high-ranking Nazi officials— over a dozen times. For many of the performers, including Schächter, it would be the last music they would hear before being transported to their deaths at Auschwitz.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

While Christopher Farrell has been a violist with the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he was in Studio C this week as a composer – a skill he's spent the last decade honing. He brought with him his friends and colleagues, cellist Sari Reist, bassist Tim Pearson and pianist Megan Gale to perform new music written this year and last. Both pieces are part of Farrell's larger project to write a sonata for each string instrument.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

As one of Nashville's premiere vocal groups, Portara Ensemble's repertoire spans a wide range of genres and styles. Director Jason Shelton brought the ensemble and one of their diverse programs to the studio in advance of their June 3rd concert, called "Home." The performance will be a benefit for Open Table Nashville, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness. And while the program might cover a range of styles — including a stunning performance of a traditional spiritual and the world premiere of a new work with words provided by members of the ensemble — the pieces are all thematically tied together by the idea of home.  

Courtesy of Colleen Phelps

"You won't hear anything: you'll hear everything," is how avant-garde musician John Cage described his events known as Musicircus. First performed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Musicircus began as an invitation for artists to come together in a space and perform whatever they chose, simultaneously.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Studio C was brimming with energy when two dozen 5th and 6th graders arrived from Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro. Together, they form Steel de Boro, an after school student steel drum band lead by percussionist and Scales music teacher Tony Hartman. The group played several originals by Hartman and wrapped up their set with a Herbie Hancock classic. 

Chris Lee / Courtesy of the artist

Joshua Bell describes finding his instrument, a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin, as a “kind of love story that only happens once or twice in one’s life.” It’s a love story that involves more than a little bit of luck, too.