Classical Music

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.

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.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

I Madrigali is a group of singers from community and church choirs around Nashville who gather each summer when their usual choirs take a season off. Quite appropriately, their repertoire draws heavily from the rich Renaissance body of madrigals celebrating the joys of midsummer festivities. Directed by John Perry, the ensemble will perform the pre-show music before the Nashville Shakespeare Festival's performance in Centennial Park this Saturday evening at 6:30. On Saturday Aug. 29 they'll sing the downtown library's Music in the Morning concert at 10:30 am.

Set list:

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Reagan Casteel's high school education took a sharp turn in 2015; after three years at Nashville's Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet, she spent a summer at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and ended up returning there to finish out her senior year learning to compose music. Casteel is now headed to Eastman School of Music. But before again leaving Music City, the talented teenager stopped by Studio C to perform a program that includes one of her own compositions.

ALIAS Chamber Ensemble

The new concert season for Nashville-based ALIAS Chamber Ensemble is a mix of old friends and new ventures.

The ensemble will again partner with the Nashville Ballet for a set of performances, and will return to music by two of the three composers they've recorded on past albums. Partnerships with other arts organizations also mark two other performances that will take the group from their usual home at the Blair School of Music, as they play events in conjunction with contemporary art and music venue OZ Arts Nashville and the venerable Southern Festival of Books.