Classical | Nashville Public Radio


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Stephen Seifert's training as a classical pianist shines through his performances on the mountain dulcimer. The instrument is a form of zither traditional to the Appalachian region that is quite user friendly for the beginner but also capable of a high level of sophistication and subtlety in the hands of a musician like Seifert.

If Live in Studio C is usually a mini-concert with some chatting about the music, this one is a fluid conversation about an intriguing instrument, interspersed with freewheeling musical examples of folk songs, hymn tunes and improvisations.

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Former Blair School of Music professor Agnes Wan is back in Nashville this week, and she stopped by our studios with a performance that highlighted her precise and sensitive playing. She brought two selections from Franz Schubert, each composed to sound as if they were improvised on the spot.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.