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

Anita Martinz / Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the vernal equinox, and for the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of spring. With the turn of the season comes warmer weather (at least, in theory), the first buds on the trees and blooms on the ground, afternoon thunderstorms and choruses of chirping birds.

If you're smitten with this season, you aren't alone: tons of composers throughout history have been inspired by spring to write some unforgettable music. 

Jim McGuire / edgarmeyer.com

In 1986, Edgar Meyer made his first solo appearance with the Nashville Symphony, performing Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2. Now, 30 years later, Meyer will play the piece with the orchestra again. This time, however, the accompanying program will include the world premiere of a new piece composed by Meyer himself.

This isn't the first time the Nashville Symphony has premiered a new work by Meyer, but it does signal a new approach to writing music for the award-winning composer and instrumentalist. 

Bonica Ayala

To get a sense of some of the most unique vocal practices from around the globe – Tuvan and Inuit throat singing, yodeling, Korean P’ansori, heavy metal vocal styles, and Sardinian cantu a tenore, just to name a few—you’d need a hefty amount of airline miles and an extended vacation to travel the world in search of such diverse traditions. 

Or, you could listen to a performance by Roomful of Teeth.

Wikimedia Commons

In 1940, prominent American psychologist and educator Carl Seashore published an article in Music Educators Journal titled “Why No Great Women Composers?” It was a marked improvement over 19th century academic writings that detailed the general inferiority of the female gender.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Two of the most buzzed about films of 2016, Moonlight and La La Land, have garnered a collective 22 Academy Award nominations between them, including nods for Best Original Score.

On the surface, the music couldn’t be more different: The soundtrack for Moonlight is an amalgam of classical piano, strings, and hip-hop chopped and screwed techniques; while La La Land offers a modern yet starry-eyed homage to Hollywood’s golden age of musicals.

Herbert Migdoll/Unknown / Joffrey Ballet/Wikimedia Commons

On May 29, 1913, the premiere of The Rite of Spring was infamously met with a cacophony of boos, hisses and jeers from the audience.

Kara McCleland / Nashville Public Radio

Looking for the perfect classical soundtrack to bask in the most romantic day of the year? Look no further. Think Valentine’s Day is a shallow excuse of a holiday, invented by greeting card companies to cash in on the delusions of lovesick fools? We’ve got something for you, too! Regardless of your relationship status or feelings about February 14th, listen up:   

For the True Romantic: Franz Liszt, Liebestraum No. 3

Shervin Lainez / Wu Fei

The first Halloween after Beijing-born composer, performer and instrumentalist Wu Fei relocated with her family to Nashville, her young daughter Viola made a unique costume request: she wanted to be a “Batman Queen.”

Always up for a creative challenge, Fei scoured the internet to curate the perfect getup for her daughter, who was busy proclaiming everything she could accomplish as Batman Queen: rocket to outer space, defeat bad guys—you know, the usual undertakings of a three-year-old. 

Black musicians have been making their mark on classical music for centuries, even if they haven't always been afforded the spotlight they deserve. As Black History Month begins, here's a look back at a few of the black composers who made significant contributions to the genre.