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

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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. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

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

Ben White / Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Becky Cohen / Courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust

Queer composers have been creating music throughout history. Archaic Greek poet Sappho, for instance, was penning homoerotic song lyrics on the island of Lesbos as early as the 7th century BC. In many cases, though, the politics of culture and time may have prevented them from being completely open about their identities—and musicologists have for years pondered and debated over the sexual orientation of some of classical music history’s biggest names.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Each summer since 1985, talented students from all over Tennessee have gathered in Murfreesboro for a month-long residency arts program, mentored by some of the best faculty members from the state and beyond. And each summer, we look forward to welcoming musicians from the Tennessee Governor's School of the Arts to Live in Studio C. This week features music from the school's faculty; next week, we'll hear from their students. 

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. 

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