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.

 

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Members of the Belmont, MTSU and Blair School faculties came together to play a holiday edition of Live in Studio C on brass instruments: Joel Treybig and Patrick Kunkee, trumpets; Leslie Norton, horn; Jeremy Wilson, trombone; Gilbert Long, tuba.

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These days, Carlos Enrique makes Nashville his base of operations, but the music of the guitarist and composer is infused with the sound of his first home: Puerto Rico. Enrique is a native of San Juan and a graduate of the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico. For his performance in Studio C, Enrique brought a mix of his own compositions and other works from Latin and French traditions, accompanied on cello by Dierdre Emerson.

Director Jason Shelton brought Portara Ensemble back to Studio C in advance of the choir's concert on winter and holiday themes, drawing from classical and American folk traditions. The full performance is at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 10 at Belle Meade United Methodist Church. 

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Timbre Cierpke grew up in Nashville in a very musical family (her name is a musical term, even) and she's carrying on the family tradition as a very active harpist and vocalist. 

Each year she organizes a Christmas concert with her band and the acapella choir Sonus; this year that performance is at 7:00 pm Friday, December 8 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Brentwood. For her performance in Studio C, Cieprke brought her own arrangements of holiday music to perform with cellist Lindsey Smith-Trostie.

Minnesota Public Radio today announced that it is "terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him." Among other things, that means an immediate end to the production of a show that aired each morning on 91Classical, "The Writer's Almanac." Within hours, the show's website was replaced with a statement about Keillor's termination and episodes ceased to be available to public radio stations.

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Matt Davich usually brings his saxophone to performances in Studio C, but this time we got to hear him playing the instrument that was his focus in music school: the clarinet. Davich brought along two other great woodwind players, oboist Stephanie Bettig and Andy Witherington on bassoon. The trio played a handful of rather contemporary pieces that often take a playful approach to chamber music.

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. 

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