Classical Music

unknown passport photographer / King's College Library, Cambridge

This weekend, a group of Nashville ensembles will present the U.S. premiere of a work they think of not as a performance, but an invitation to activism.

British composer James McCarthy’s oratorio, Codebreaker, illuminates key moments from the life of Alan Turing. The groundbreaking computer scientist broke Germany’s Enigma Code during World War II and established the quintessential test of artificial intelligence. 

Guitarist Robert Thompson teaches more than thirty students in his guitar ensemble class at Belmont University. He brought about half that number to Studio C to perform a variety of music from across the guitar repertoire.

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The tradition of writing liturgical music began centuries ago, when the main employer of European composers was the Christian church. Since then, an abundance of music has been created to commemorate the Biblical events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Composers approach musical retellings of Christianity's most important holiday from a variety of perspectives; here are just a few pieces to listen to during Holy Week: 

serafinquartet.org/vanderbilt.edu

Playing in a string quartet isn’t easy. “You hear so many stories of how it goes wrong,” says Kate Ransom, violinist for the Serafin Quartet and one of the group’s founding members. “It’s such a delicate balance, you have to work so intimately together” she continues, citing a laundry list of moving parts that keep Serafin running smoothly.

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What do 19th century Romantic-era composer Johannes Brahms and modern alt-rockers Radiohead have in common? A lot more that you might think, according to Steve Hackman.

The young conductor, composer and all-around musician has been making a name for himself in recent years with his orchestral “mash-ups,” which seek to synthesize well known and well loved orchestral and pop masterworks.

Last week, two students of Jerome Reed at Lipscomb University played in Studio C. This time, we hear Reed himself playing music by two living American composers, one of whom is a former student who wrote the piece specifically for Reed.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

This week, we get a preview of two upcoming student recitals at Lipscomb University. Christian Johnson grew up in Dickson; Jeriel Jorguenson is from Belize but now  lives in Nashville. Both have studied with Jerome Reed since they were students in high school. Now, the pair are finishing their last year of college.

Anita Martinz / Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the vernal equinox, and for the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of spring. With the turn of the season comes warmer weather (at least, in theory), the first buds on the trees and blooms on the ground, afternoon thunderstorms and choruses of chirping birds.

If you're smitten with this season, you aren't alone: tons of composers throughout history have been inspired by spring to write some unforgettable music. 

Jim McGuire / edgarmeyer.com

In 1986, Edgar Meyer made his first solo appearance with the Nashville Symphony, performing Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2. Now, 30 years later, Meyer will play the piece with the orchestra again. This time, however, the accompanying program will include the world premiere of a new piece composed by Meyer himself.

This isn't the first time the Nashville Symphony has premiered a new work by Meyer, but it does signal a new approach to writing music for the award-winning composer and instrumentalist. 

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Richard Todd is a member of two music faculties here in Nashville; his main job is teaching guitar at Tennessee State University, but he's also an adjunct at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music. The selections he brought to his Studio C performance are just some of what he prepared to perform in a recital at Blair.

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