Nina Cardona

Music Director / Host

Nina Cardona holds a degree in music history from Converse College. Just two days after graduation, she started playing classical music as a part-time host on Nashville Public Radio.  She was WPLN’s All Things Considered host for eleven years, during which time her reporting focused on arts and culture stories.

Nina is a classically trained singer and open water swimmer who dabbles in photography and a variety of needle crafts.


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Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Jerome Reed returned to Studio C with a program of well-loved and well-played favorites, including a Brahms intermezzo that acts as a sort of musical mirror for him. On the instruction of a professor during his undergraduate years, Reed picked the intermezzo as something he would return to again and again through his life to see how he has grown and changed as a musician. Reed now teaches piano at Lipscomb University and directs the music program at the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, and he passes on the advice to his students to select similar "mirrors" for themselves.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Eastwood Ensemble's Spring concert is all about music written by — or for — Americans. The program includes the world premiere of a movement by Nashville composer Kevin Jablonski and a performance dedicated to the memory of East Nashvillian Paul Gordon. Ahead of the concert at Eastwood Christian Church at 3pm on Sunday, May 22, members of the ensemble brought a sample to Studio C.

Photos credits: Joel Larson, Michelle Day, Chris Christodoulou, Rachel Hadiashar, and Gerry Szymanski / League of American Orchestras

The Nashville Symphony is helping to play matchmaker this week. At least, that’s the hope as the orchestra hosts a national showcase for up-and-coming conductors.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Portara Ensemble's name hints at the group's mission: the choir seeks to be a gateway to collaboration within Nashville's music community. Last year, Portara partnered with ALIAS Chamber Ensemble and the Nashville Ballet to commission and premiere new music by Paul Moravec. The result, 'Amorisms,' was released as an album earlier this year.

Lois Fyfe Music

Nashville’s sacred music community lost one of its mainstays this weekend. Organist, choir director and teacher Peter Fyfe died Saturday at the age of 92.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Vox Grata Women's Choir has an upcoming spring concert featuring music from Central and Eastern Europe. Among other pieces, they'll be singing a set of songs by Rachmaninoff as translated into English by a pair of Nashvillians. Mark Herman and Ronnie Apter came to explain how they craft singable lyrics that sound good while also keeping the intended meaning intact. And, of course, the choir gave us a taste of the final product, accompanied by pianist John Semingson.

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Nashville’s ALIAS Chamber Ensemble is known for introducing the city’s audiences to new music by living composers. True to form, the group’s Spring concert does include a world premiere. But the program also highlights a masterful composer of the 17th century whose work has been largely forgotten.

Wikimedia Commons

Some electronic instruments have a reputation for sounding like the inorganic machines they are. Synthesizers and drum machines can be sterile and robotic. In fact, that’s often the appeal. But it wasn’t always that way. This week, the contemporary classical ensemble Intersection performs a program showcasing the highly expressive and nuanced character of one of the first electronic instruments ever invented.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

An alumnus of Middle Tennessee State University's guitar program, Silviu Ciulei now teaches the instrument at Furman University in South Carolina. He returned to Studio C with a program of French music, Django Reinhardt and his own flamenco compositions.

The Nashville Repertory Theater (formerly the Tennessee Rep) has announced a 2016-17 season that balances old favorites with new plays, and offers a mix of shows ranging from introspective drama to slapstick comedy.

David Bailey / Nashville Ballet

The Nashville ballet takes on one of the most retold stories in the Islamic world, this weekend: Layla and the Majnun. It’s something of a coincidence that the company is premiering a dance based on a Middle Eastern legend in a political season full of talk about Islam in schools and Syrian refugees.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Heather Conner, chair of the Precollege piano program at the Blair School of Music, brought music of Schumann and Stravinsky for this week's live broadcast, joined for the second half by her husband, pianist Calvin Harris. The pair will perform in concert Friday, April 22 in Turner Recital Hall.

Joan Marcus / TPAC

Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s upcoming Broadway season is largely made up of the touring productions that have been its mainstay for years. But the 2016-17 schedule begins and ends with shows that have Middle Tennessee connections: one is a locally produced rendition of a favorite musical, the other a show co-written by a veteran of Music Row.

Joseph Routon / American Guild of Organists

Nashville audiences have seen very little of one of Music City’s most accomplished performers, even at her recitals. Wilma Jensen is often hidden behind church chancels as she plays the keyboards, pedals and stops of pipe organ consoles. But her tremendous skill has taken Jensen around the world, playing all over the United States and Europe, including three concerts on the Grand Organ of the Cathedral de Notre Dame in Paris.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Cellist Christine Kim and pianist Arunesh Nadgir are back in the midstate after a pair of performances on the road. Both are music professors at Middle Tennessee State University. In Studio C, they gave us a taste of what audiences in North Carolina and Indiana enjoyed, playing a sonata by Debussy in its entirety and a portion of one by Shostakovich.

Karyn Kipley / Nashville Ballet

The Nashville Ballet has announced its 2016-17 season, including a greater presence than ever for one longtime member of the company.

Christopher Stuart joined Nashville Ballet as a dancer in 2003, and has a number of featured solo roles on his resume. A few years ago, audiences were introduced to his choreography in the company's experimental, black box performances, Emergence. This season, his 2014 dance Under the Lights makes up half of the annual contemporary show, Attitude. Stuart is also the choreographer of the final mainstage show of the season.

Reed Hummel / Nashville Opera

The Nashville Opera mounts its 100th production this weekend with a lighthearted story of Old Vienna, Die Fledermaus. These days, the operetta by Johann Strauss Jr., is an extravagant look back at a golden age long gone, but the show found its first success by being very of-the-moment.

Nashville Symphony

Spring is the season for hearing talented young musicians at their best. It’s when honor bands and choirs meet, when music majors ending their college careers perform senior recitals, and when competitions identify budding soloists.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Robert Thompson returned to Live in Studio C with a group of students from the Belmont University Guitar Ensemble, which Thompson founded and directs. The class draws a range of students, from guitar majors to those looking for elective credit. The duets and quartets who came to Studio C this time performed music by several Latin American composers, as well as one American work and one of the best-known pieces by Debussy. 

Candace Di Carlo

It’s not often the viola gets the spotlight. The alto voice in the string family is most often used to provide harmonic underpinnings and rhythmic structure while other instruments get the showy, hummable passages. But Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon maintains the viola is a virtuosic instrument in its own right that deserves to be heard front and center.