Nina Cardona | Nashville Public Radio

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.

 

Ways to Connect

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Former Tennessee Tech professor Wonkak Kim is back in Middle Tennessee for a visit, so of course we made sure to have him swing through our studios for a performance. Kim, a clarinetist, brought with him the Parker String Quartet. The ensemble is currently on tour and is serving a residency at Harvard.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Mozart wrote his opera, The Marriage of Figaro, in the late 18th century, long before reality television. However, a new production featuring Blair School of Music students highlights the similarities between the over-the-top antics and scheming of the classical-era plot and modern-day shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor. Ahead of their very contemporary production, singers from the Vanderbilt Opera Theater came to sing highlights from the show.

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Baritone Jeffrey Williams is a cheerful, friendly guy, but he loves singing roles that explore the darker side of life. The Austin Peay State University professor obtained a Center for Excellence grant for composer Leanna Kirchoff to write a mono-opera based on Guy de Maupassant's "Diary of a Madman," which premiered on a Halloween night recital of spooky and creepy classical music at Austin Peay. Williams is joined by Ben Harris on piano and Kevin Jablonsk playing double-bass, with the composer on hand to tell us about her approach to the piece.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

In their individual careers, husband and wife Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have each used the banjo to both explore the bluegrass tradition and build bridges between a variety of other genres. They come from different schools of banjo technique (she's a clawhammer player, he plays three-finger style) and she's a skilled singer. Since the birth of their son, they've been performing as a duet, blending their approaches to craft a new take on a classic American sound. At the same time, Fleck has written two banjo concertos — the first composed in partnership with the Nashville Symphony — and is working on a third. 

Nashville Public Radio

On September 9, Nashville Public Radio's Studio C buzzed all day with live performances from Midstate chamber musicians. The performers ranged from a high school phenomenon to seasoned professionals; their repertoire covered the gamut from Renaissance dance tunes to 19th century classics, even a galloping improvisation for Chinese and Western instruments.

If you didn't have a chance to listen to our broadcast of the first ever 91Classical Radio Fest (or if you'd like to hear it again) here's another opportunity to enjoy the performances that were featured that day. 

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Clarinetist Seunghee Lee is currently preparing for her Carnegie Hall debut and short performance tour of Italy, but Murfreesboro audiences get to enjoy her first. Lee is in town to visit and play with her former classmate and fellow clarinetist Todd Waldecker, who teaches at Middle Tennessee State University. The pair were joined in Studio C by another MTSU faculty member, pianist Eunbyol Ko.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Technically, John Johns is retired. He doesn't teach at Blair School of Music anymore. However, to hear him tell it Johns is playing the guitar more than ever. Now that his time is his own, he's spending it on fine tuning the small details of long-favorite pieces, some of which he shared during this performance.

photo courtesy of Tracy Silverman

Take one part violin (no, make that electric violin) concerto, one part narrative story about the life cycle of an insect, combine liberally with film projections ... that’s essentially the recipe for "Love Song to the Sun." The collaboration between Nashville violinist and composer Tracy Silverman and video artist Todd Winkler will have its regional premiere Thursday, Oct. 5 at OZ Arts Nashville, performed by Silverman with the Vanderbilt University Orchestra.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Cellist Michael Samis and pianist Megan Gale returned to Studio C with music by a pair of beloved 19th century masters. For our show, they played selections. They'll perform the pieces in full at a recital on October 20 at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Since moving to Nashville three years ago, composer Cristina Spinei has been busy writing for Nashville musicians. On this show, we hear her at the piano with cellist Cremaine Booker as they play music written for him to post on Instagram, a composition she created for the Nashville Ballet and music that was written as a wedding present. 

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