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Classical

photographer unknown, circa 1939 / Wikimedia Commons

The broad strokes of Etty Hillesum’s life before World War II were not particularly remarkable. Her father was a Dutch school master, and her mother was one of many Russian Jews who fled the pogroms of their homeland to make a new life Western Europe.

Hillesum herself wasn’t a particularly good student, although she was interested in languages. Her brother was a very skilled pianist, but she showed no particular aptitude for music. She worked as a housekeeper. She had a romantic relationship with her boss.

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Space Institute / Wikimedia Commons

Spaceflight was just a theoretical possibility when Gustav Holst wrote his musical exploration of our solar system. 

Ed Lambert / Nashville Public Radio

Teenagers Nolan and Chloe Harvel are a pair of siblings that share a love of music and a talent for playing. For their visit to Studio C, the Harvels were accompanied by Maeve Brophy, a pianist on the staff at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Nashville harpist and teacher Carol McClure's fine album of Christmas favorites is often heard on Classical 91.1 during December. She brought student Clara Warford in to Studio C to give us a live performance of music spanning this month of holidays and feast days.

The Brass Arts Quintet is a faculty ensemble at a university known for its stellar brass program, Tennessee Tech. The group brought us selections from their annual holiday concert, including several of the members' own arrangements of Christmas classics. Raquel Rodriguez and Chris McCormick play trumpet. Greg Danner is on French horn. The trombonist is Joshua Hauser, and Jesse Chavez plays tuba.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Portara Ensemble will look beyond Christmas in its concert this week, with choral music about Advent and the deep night of Winter. The full program starts at 7pm Friday evening at Brentwood's Church of the Good Shepherd, and again at 7pm Saturday night at Christ the King Church in Nashville. Artistic director Jason Shelton, pianist Horacio Guendulain and a portion of the choir gave us a taste of the music to come in Studio C.

Set List:

traditional chant: Veni, Veni Emmanuel

15th century carol: Nova! Nova!

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Last year around this time, violinist Jessica Blackwell told her friend, violist and composer Christopher Farrell, that she'd really like him to write a violin solo. What's more, she challenged him to move beyond the chamber music he'd written to date and compose a piece for orchestra. The end result gets its world premiere December 6 at a performance of the Nashville Philharmonic. Farrell and Blackwell, plus pianist Megan Gale, gave us a sneak peek by playing a reduced version of the Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Belmont Brass Quintet from Belmont University brought a cornucopia of music for our Thanksgiving listening, ranging from a Baroque air and Renaissance dance to familiar hymns of gratitude and a playful contemporary composition. The ensemble is made up of trumpeters Joel Treybig and Patrick Kunkee, hornist Radu Rusu, trombonist Jeff Phillips and James Land on tuba.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Jennifer Kummer and Anna Spina are both Chicago natives who work in Nashville as French horn players for hire: they play orchestral concerts, in the pit at opera productions, and as studio musicians. Between gigs, they've prepared a group of duet pieces for the instrument just for our Live in Studio C audience.

Ed Lambert / Nashville Public Radio

Earlier this year, Clarksville composer Jeffrey Wood debuted portions of a new song cycle about the so-called Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, with lyrics taken from poems by Kenneth Sherman. Now the entire collection of songs is ready to be performed in full. Wood and baritone Jeffrey Williams offered us a sample of selections, covering various points in Merrick's adulthood, ahead of their concert at Austin Peay State University.

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