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Classical

courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Larry Trotter is a Knoxville pastor, and a former lead guitarist in a rock band. But on July 4th Trotter turns into the maestro of the downtown fireworks — the man who times the fireworks to the live music.

Per Palmkvist Knudsen / Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you read the headline correctly — since 1989, June has been designated as National Accordion Awareness Month. Chances are, if you’ve ever been around an accordion, it’s difficult to not be aware of it; the instruments (and its many variants) are unique in both physicality and timbre. So why a whole month dedicated to them?

Wikimedia Commons

As composers in the mid-20th century began wild experiments in sound, the practice of traditional music notation became increasingly inadequate. How, for example, could the sound of John Cage’s amplified cactus, or the electroacoustic experiments of Pierre Schaeffer be effectively scored by notes on a staff?

As a result, the art of graphic notation — the use of shapes or patterns instead of, or together with, conventional notation — began. The scores generally fall in one of two categories: Some strive to communicate specific compositional intentions, while others are meant to inspire the performer’s imagination.

Here’s a look at a few graphic scores, the ways they’ve been interpreted by performers and how the tradition has evolved over the years.

Wikimedia Commons

As dads across the country open homemade macaroni cards this Father's Day, take a look at some of the fathers throughout classical history that influenced—for better or for worse—the musical lives of their children. Some are famous composers themselves, others are best remembered for fostering musical talent in their kids. All were probably equipped with at least a few good dad jokes.   

Leopold Mozart

image via Nashville Symphony

Giancarlo Guerrero will be taking on a new position in the next concert season. In addition to his role as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, Guerrero has been named Music Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic in Poland.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

With the Nashville Predators facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Nashville’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final, hockey fever has swept through the city, including its concert halls.

Today marks the much-discussed 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles masterpiece considered by some to be the “most important rock & roll album ever made”

Photo Courtesy of The Nashville Symphony

The last time Zuill Bailey played with the Nashville Symphony, he gave a Grammy-winning performance. It’s an experience the virtuoso cellist describes as “capturing lightning in a bottle.”

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Since 1868, Americans have set aside time at the end of May to visit the burial sites of veterans. The date of what used to be called "Decoration Day" was chosen for practical reasons: If you're going to place flowers on a grave, what better time than when plenty of flowers are blooming? But it's appropriate timing on a symbolic level, too. The contrast between seasonal beauty and the ugliness of war is an apt metaphor for the bittersweet combination of fond memories and painful loss that lies at the heart of Memorial Day.

It's a complex mix of emotions that music has long explored. Here are a handful of selections that lie in the meeting place between love and loss, war and peace, beauty and discomfort.

You have a few more days to catch “The Dada Effect: An Anti-Aesthetic and Its Influence” at Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery before it closes on May 27th. The exhibit explores the rise of the artistic movement in the wake of WWI, when Dadaists gathered to forge an anti-establishment, anti-bourgeois and anti-war philosophy that rejected conventions of the past.

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