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. 

 

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On the cover of Black Violin's 2015 album Stereotypes is a violin, shattered and artfully arranged in a new, angular shape. It's a fitting visual for what the duo has been doing together for nearly 15 years: defying expected conventions about what music can sound like, and who can play it. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Last month, Robert Thompson visited the studio as half of Duo Sudeste. This week, he returned as a director to showcase students from the Belmont University Guitar Ensemble. Ranging from freshman to seniors, the students performed music as duets and quartets in a variety of styles across the guitar repertoire. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Flutist Bart Feller is used to traveling the country with his instrument. While his main gigs are playing principal flute with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and teaching at Rutgers University, he spends summers in the desert playing with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and weekends teaching the pre college division at Julliard. 

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

Composer Nicholas Wing gave the world premiere of three works on this week's program, including a piece performed with a violin once played by a member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (then known as the Palestine Philharmonic), founded by Bronisław Huberman.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

When the idea of performing all of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas came to Matthew Phelps, Music Minister at West End United Methodist Church, he thought no one would take it seriously. Soon, however, Phelps had a roster of over 20 professional pianists—many of whom are professors at Belmont, Vanderbilt and Lipscomb— lined up to play the entire sonata cycle. 

Erica Abbey Photography / Courtesy of Jonathan Leshnoff

A city-wide initiative featuring performances, lectures and community discussions about the Holocaust will culminate this weekend as Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the Nashville Symphony and the Violins of Hope, instruments played by Jewish musicians in concentration camps during WWII. The program is anchored by the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff's Symphony No. 4, a piece the Nashville Symphony commissioned specifically for the instruments.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

The Maharaja Flamenco Trio stopped by prior to an evening concert at Middle Tennessee State University, bringing with them a lively set of classic Gypsy jazz and original flamenco music. Helmed by MTSU alumnus Silviu Ciulei, who is trained in both classical and flamenco guitar styles, the trio includes Tony Hartmann on percussion and David Cobb on bass. 

Alex Ferrari / Courtesy of Intersection

Nashville is home to nearly 15,000 Kurdish residents, a population bigger than any other city in the United States. Most have found refuge here, having fled wars and dictatorships since the 1970s. This vibrant community was one point of inspiration for Kelly Corcoran, artistic director of Nashville's contemporary chamber ensemble Intersection. This Friday and Saturday, Intersection will present "From the Ancient Valley," a program inspired by Kurdish and Persian culture. 

Krists Luhaers / Wikimedia Commons

Since jazz's coming of age in the early 20th century, classical and jazz musicians have been influencing and borrowing from one another, creating some bold and innovative music along the way. From the early syncopations of Scott Joplin and George Gershwin to modern interpretations of classics from the likes of Kamasi Washington, jazz and classical music have been combined in harmony for over a century. 

Tony Spielberg / Nashville Ballet

When a ballet about the Holocaust was first suggested to Stephen Mills, Artistic Director and choreographer for Ballet Austin, it struck him as the “worst idea ever.” It wasn’t until he met Naomi Warren, who survived three concentration camps while her family did not, that Mills felt moved to create Light / The Holocaust and  Humanity Project. The ballet, which centers around Warren’s story, will receive its local premiere with Nashville Ballet this weekend.

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