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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With the total solar eclipse set to arrive in Nashville in just a few days, hordes of sky-gazers are finalizing their viewing plans. While a good observation spot and proper eye protection are essential, a carefully curated music playlist can be the icing on the cake in preparation for this extraordinary event. 

Fortunately, classical composers have long been inspired by the heavens and there is no shortage of celestial-themed work. 

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One of the most beloved classical music festivals in the world is midway through its eight-week run. The BBC Proms features nightly concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. From the beginning in 1895, the spirit of the festival has been clear: an informal atmosphere, affordable ticket prices and concert programming that was at once accessible and challenging and that makes live classical music more available to audiences.

Hans Wild / Image provided by the Britten-Pears Foundation (www.brittenpears.org) Ref: PH/5/127

The notion of the traveling musician is nothing new. From the transient troubadors of the 13th century to modern touring artists, musicianship and travel have gone hand in hand for centuries. 

With summer in full swing and families making pilgrimages to favorite beach spots and mountain retreats, spend some time with a few composers that found musical inspiration in their travels.  

Per Palmkvist Knudsen / Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you read the headline correctly — since 1989, June has been designated as National Accordion Awareness Month. Chances are, if you’ve ever been around an accordion, it’s difficult to not be aware of it; the instruments (and its many variants) are unique in both physicality and timbre. So why a whole month dedicated to them?

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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.

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