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Minnesota Public Radio today announced that it is "terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him." Among other things, that means an immediate end to the production of a show that aired each morning on 91Classical, "The Writer's Almanac." Within hours, the show's website was replaced with a statement about Keillor's termination and episodes ceased to be available to public radio stations.

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Matt Davich usually brings his saxophone to performances in Studio C, but this time we got to hear him playing the instrument that was his focus in music school: the clarinet. Davich brought along two other great woodwind players, oboist Stephanie Bettig and Andy Witherington on bassoon. The trio played a handful of rather contemporary pieces that often take a playful approach to chamber music.

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Thanksgiving is upon us. For many Americans, the holiday means lots of food, lots of football and lots of time with family (for better or for worse). To accompany all your Turkey Day activities, whatever they may be, we’ve put together a holiday-appropriate playlist to suit your needs:

For early rising (and last-minute grocery shopping)

Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra: The Harvest Home Suite Overture

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Former Tennessee Tech professor Wonkak Kim is back in Middle Tennessee for a visit, so of course we made sure to have him swing through our studios for a performance. Kim, a clarinetist, brought with him the Parker String Quartet. The ensemble is currently on tour and is serving a residency at Harvard.

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Mozart wrote his opera, The Marriage of Figaro, in the late 18th century, long before reality television. However, a new production featuring Blair School of Music students highlights the similarities between the over-the-top antics and scheming of the classical-era plot and modern-day shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor. Ahead of their very contemporary production, singers from the Vanderbilt Opera Theater came to sing highlights from the show.

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Baritone Jeffrey Williams is a cheerful, friendly guy, but he loves singing roles that explore the darker side of life. The Austin Peay State University professor obtained a Center for Excellence grant for composer Leanna Kirchoff to write a mono-opera based on Guy de Maupassant's "Diary of a Madman," which premiered on a Halloween night recital of spooky and creepy classical music at Austin Peay. Williams is joined by Ben Harris on piano and Kevin Jablonsk playing double-bass, with the composer on hand to tell us about her approach to the piece.

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500 years ago today, Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany, airing his grievances against the Roman Catholic Church and sparking the Protestant Reformation.

Changes within the church also brought changes in religious music-making, and with Luther came the rise of the chorale. These Protestant hymns showcased some of the biggest departures from music in the Catholic church: a focus on congregational singing, texts in German rather than Latin and melodies often borrowed from secular songs. 

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In their individual careers, husband and wife Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have each used the banjo to both explore the bluegrass tradition and build bridges between a variety of other genres. They come from different schools of banjo technique (she's a clawhammer player, he plays three-finger style) and she's a skilled singer. Since the birth of their son, they've been performing as a duet, blending their approaches to craft a new take on a classic American sound. At the same time, Fleck has written two banjo concertos — the first composed in partnership with the Nashville Symphony — and is working on a third. 

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It's officially the spookiest time of year: the cobwebs are hung and the candy is ready... now for the music. Nashville has no shortage of Halloween-themed performances leading up to All Hallows' Eve, and classical music fans can celebrate in macabre style with a ballet about a suspected murderess, a chamber opera from the perspective of a madman, a live organ performance underscoring the creepiest silent film of all time and more. Just try not to get too scared:  

Lizzie Borden with The Raven at Nashville Ballet

Nashville Public Radio

On September 9, Nashville Public Radio's Studio C buzzed all day with live performances from Midstate chamber musicians. The performers ranged from a high school phenomenon to seasoned professionals; their repertoire covered the gamut from Renaissance dance tunes to 19th century classics, even a galloping improvisation for Chinese and Western instruments.

If you didn't have a chance to listen to our broadcast of the first ever 91Classical Radio Fest (or if you'd like to hear it again) here's another opportunity to enjoy the performances that were featured that day. 

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