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

Nashville Symphony

The Nashville Symphony will play music by a young composer from California’s Bay Area this weekend, in a performance that kicks off an intensive, season-long relationship with the artist.

24-year-old Gabriela Smith was one of five composers chosen to take part in a workshops at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center last year. The Nashville Symphony offered feedback, mentoring sessions and a chance for the composers to hear their work played by a full orchestra. Over the course of three days, the Smith wowed the symphony’s leaders with her talent and eagerness to learn.

originally published by H. Fores on July 23, 1820 / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, the Nashville Opera opens its season with Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  It’s a classic tale of a womanizing cad who runs out of luck. The story that forms the basis for the opera was already more than a century-and-a-half old when Mozart set it to music, and it’s been retold many times through the years.

Flutist Jessica Dunnavant has a busy concert schedule right now, performing with several ensembles over the coming weeks. But she carved out a little time from her ensemble work to give us an example of the lively solo music that helped make the flute a popular instrument to play in the Baroque era, plus some insight into how different keys call for slight changes to the way a musician plays the instrument of that period.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Last year, flutist Deanna Little brought a group of musicians from Middle Tennessee State University to Studio C to perform selections from The Dolly Project, chamber music by area composers inspired by Dolly Parton, specifically her song "Coat of Many Colors." It tells a story from Parton's youth and a children's book she wrote. Since then, Little has continued her university-funded work towards the goal of putting together an album of classical music written by Tennesseans, performed by Tennesseans, about a Tennessean.

Today, Little returned with more music from the project, using every variety of flute in the instrument's family (that's a contrabass flute in the foreground of the photo). She even recruited host Will Griffin to participate in the performance.

Wharton Photography / Nashville Symphony

This weekend, the Nashville Symphony celebrates 70 years of existence and a decade in its concert hall. It’s also using the fist concert of this year’s classical series to honor that building’s namesake: Kenneth Schermerhorn.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Gateway Chamber Orchestra draws on Austin Peay State University's music faculty as well as symphony and session players from around the region. This season, along with playing works of the great masters, the ensemble is celebrating the diversity of music found in our area. For the opening concert, they've invited Stephen Seifert to play a concerto for mountain dulcimer written by a Middle Tennessee resident.

Nashville Symphony

Giancarlo Guerrero will stay with the Nashville Symphony for nearly another decade, at least. The music director has agreed to a five-year extension of his existing contract.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Now that school's back in session, the faculty recital series is back underway at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music. Cellist Felix Wang and pianist Heather Conner will be performing Friday evening, and they've brought us a preview of that program.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Kevin Bate is the Nashville Symphony's Assistant Principal Cellist, so we usually hear him in concert with dozens of other musicians. In this program we get to hear his playing front and center in several pieces by composers who were cellists themselves.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian is little known in the Western world, aside from one trumpet concerto that is part of the standard repertoire for that instrument. But as Fred Sienkiewicz found, Arutiunian occupied a role in the Soviet bloc not unlike that of Leonard Bernstein in America: a leading classical composer and conductor who also crossed over into popular genres of instrumental music. Sienkiewicz is currently writing on a doctoral dissertation that will be the first English-language account of Arutiunian's life and work. He brought two trumpets and a flugelhorn to Studio C to give us a taste of the beautiful and melodic music of the composer that is so rarely heard here.