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. 

 

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As composers in the mid-20th century began wild experiments in sound, the practice of traditional music notation became increasingly inadequate. How, for example, could the sound of John Cage’s amplified cactus, or the electroacoustic experiments of Pierre Schaeffer be effectively scored by notes on a staff?

As a result, the art of graphic notation — the use of shapes or patterns instead of, or together with, conventional notation — began. The scores generally fall in one of two categories: Some strive to communicate specific compositional intentions, while others are meant to inspire the performer’s imagination.

Here’s a look at a few graphic scores, the ways they’ve been interpreted by performers and how the tradition has evolved over the years.

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As dads across the country open homemade macaroni cards this Father's Day, take a look at some of the fathers throughout classical history that influenced—for better or for worse—the musical lives of their children. Some are famous composers themselves, others are best remembered for fostering musical talent in their kids. All were probably equipped with at least a few good dad jokes.   

Leopold Mozart

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

With the Nashville Predators facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Nashville’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final, hockey fever has swept through the city, including its concert halls.

Today marks the much-discussed 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles masterpiece considered by some to be the “most important rock & roll album ever made”

Photo Courtesy of The Nashville Symphony

The last time Zuill Bailey played with the Nashville Symphony, he gave a Grammy-winning performance. It’s an experience the virtuoso cellist describes as “capturing lightning in a bottle.”

You have a few more days to catch “The Dada Effect: An Anti-Aesthetic and Its Influence” at Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery before it closes on May 27th. The exhibit explores the rise of the artistic movement in the wake of WWI, when Dadaists gathered to forge an anti-establishment, anti-bourgeois and anti-war philosophy that rejected conventions of the past.

One of the most staggering aspects of the experience of grief is the unrelenting march of time. Your life seems to come to a screeching halt, but the outside world will continue to spin, the sun will rise and your neighbors will take out their garbage on trash day. This “inexorability of the passage of time” is an experience that preoccupied John Harbison as he worked on a requiem, the centuries-old sacred music tradition associated with loss and mourning.

Karyn Photography / Nashville Ballet

In the span of just a few days, the Nashville Ballet and ALIAS Chamber Ensemble are offering a pair of variations on a theme: exploring the way classical music can interact and interweave with other sounds and genres. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

From violent crashing waves to bubbling brooks, water in all its configurations has long inspired classical composers. On April 30 & May 1, the Gateway Chamber Orchestra will perform a program that celebrates nature’s beauty, with John Luther Adams’s water-centered piece Become River as a highlight. Before you see the performance, here are eight more aqueous works to enjoy as a musical amuse-bouche:

John Luther Adams, Become Ocean (2013)

Danny Clinch / nonesuch.com

A mandolinist, a cellist and a double bassist walk into a barn. No, this isn’t the beginning of some terribly bad joke, but it is how Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma came together to record music of J.S. Bach. Their new album Bach Trios was released earlier this month. 

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