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24 minutes | 21 days ago
Classically Speaking: Titus Underwood And The Oboe In The Easy Bake Oven
For Nashville Symphony Principal Oboist Titus Underwood, the pandemic has been a fairly prolific time. It’s also been a successful year - with a regional Emmy Award and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, as well as a viral sensation on YouTube. And while he looks forward to a return to the Schermerhorn stage, he also has a lot of goals for the future of orchestral music - including equity in auditions, and a new broader focus in musicians’ training.
23 minutes | 2 months ago
Classically Speaking: The 51 Percent
Nashville’s chamber orchestra Intersection has commissioned new works from 25 female-identifying composers for a project titled “Listen.” So, we did just that - assembling a panel of the composing participants. Their diverse life experiences are reflected in their music, and also in the misconceptions they face on a daily basis.
22 minutes | 3 months ago
Classically Speaking: Maurice Ravel's Wonderful World of Childhood Tantrums
There's nothing more wild yet utterly predictable than a child's tantrum. But in Maurice Ravel's opera L’enfant et les sortilèges, the consequences take the child completely by surprise. Vanderbilt Opera Theater's production of the piece is Nashville's latest example of how performing arts have pivoted to create new and interesting projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode of Classically Speaking hear from director Gayle Shay and music director Jennifer McGuire about how Vanderbilt students learned a whole new set of skills to put on this production.
19 minutes | 3 months ago
Classically Speaking: Synth Patches, Spy Games, and Songs In Code - Composing ‘Call Of Duty’
The newest “Call of Duty” game hit the market in late 2020. In” Black Ops - Cold War” it’s composer Jack Wall’s job to transport you to the turbulence of the 1980s. From green computer screens to hidden messages in Russian lyrics, Wall’s scores are epic thanks to their use of a full orchestra – recorded right here in Nashville. Hear all about building the game’s story scene by scene.
20 minutes | 4 months ago
Classically Speaking: Leila Adu And The Fierce Guardian Of Compassion
While this episode of Classically Speaking was prepared in a tumultuous time, we never could have predicted how many more shocking things would happen before its release. That being said, Leila Adu's Mahakala Oratorio is still the right piece of music for this exact moment. The piece itself is well-timed invocation to a deity whose charge is to protect the good in all of us. Adu describes how meditation informs her music making, how she comes to her minimalism honestly, and how the project of premiering this oratorio took on new life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
21 minutes | 5 months ago
Classically Speaking: Love, Magic, And A Mechanical Tree
From the archive: Perennial holiday favorite The Nutcracker has a special local treatment from Nashville Ballet. This year, as the work makes its local television debut, get behind the scenes with Artistic Director Paul Vasterling.
24 minutes | 5 months ago
Classically Speaking: A Bubble, A Chapel, And 30 Million Hearing Lessons And Carols
During the COVID-19 pandemic, singing in large groups has been an off-limits activity. But, King’s College Cambridge has gone to extraordinary lengths to continue its Christmas services safely. Hear from Director of Music Daniel Hyde on how King’s is carrying on through this challenging time. Woven with the choral music that for many of us, has heralded the beginning of Christmas for nearly a century.
22 minutes | 5 months ago
Classically Speaking: A Word On Beethoven's Nine
As composer Ludwig van Beethoven approaches his semiquincentennial birthday, we’re taking you through all nine of his symphonies. Nashville Symphony conductor Giancarlo Guerrero joins host Colleen Phelps for a quick look at each one, focused on the history and the music itself.
22 minutes | 6 months ago
Celebrating Beethoven, On The Count Of Four
Birthday or not, Beethoven has come up quite often in Classically Speaking. So, in this episode we featured clips from previous conversations. In what turned out to be one of composer Christopher Rouse's last interviews before he died in 2019, Rouse connected the opening of his 5th symphony to Beethoven's 5th. That same short-short-short-long also started Mahler's 5th, a parallel drawn by Nashville Symphony conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Pianists Yefim Bronfman, Stephen Hough, and Lara Downes also illuminate the influence that Beethoven has had on their work, and the canon of piano literature.
23 minutes | 7 months ago
Classically Speaking: Harpist Parker Ramsay Pulled Some Strings
Since they were composed in 1741 JS Bach’s set of pieces known as the Goldberg Variations have been a favored musical puzzle for keyboardists of all varieties. Now musician Parker Ramsay has taken them on as a harpist on his debut album. From rising above the skepticism behind historically informed performance, to his hopes for the future of the instrument itself, and what we can bring from the past into today’s musical experience.
21 minutes | 7 months ago
Classically Speaking: Wide Awake With Pianist Lara Downes
If you’ve been riding a wave of insomnia for the last few months, you’re not alone. That’s why pianist Lara Downes put together The Bedtime Sessions, an album of lullabies. This collection of soothing music includes Downes’s signature expansion of the pianistic canon. Including music by Florence Price, William Grant Still, and Leonard Bernstein, all performed by Downes herself, as well as a piece by Margaret Bonds performed by Downes along with Rhiannon Giddens.
20 minutes | 8 months ago
Three Superconductors Take On 2020
With a post-coronavirus return to music-making on the horizon for American orchestras, these institutions are bringing a renewed commitment to a healthier and more representative environment. We assembled three of the orchestra world’s superheroes to show us how it’s done. Jeri Lynne Johnson, JoAnn Falletta, and Mei-Ann Chen discussed their hopes and their priorities as their ensembles face the rest of 2020.
24 minutes | 9 months ago
Classically Speaking: Bespoke Music Making With Jennifer Higdon
Composer Jennifer Higdon has music for just about any ensemble – orchestra, band, opera, choir… you name it. And her catalog of concerti is just as varied. Including her Concerto for Low Brass and Orchestra, the origin of which she describes in this episode of Classically Speaking. She also tells the story behind “Blue Cathedral,” and how she now feels that particular piece “belongs to the world.” Plus, why she’s helped many young band students remember to have a pencil on their music stand.
23 minutes | 9 months ago
Classically Speaking: Joann Falletta, A Pair Of Lovers, And A Waltz
“Romeo and Juliet” is a tale of woe. And actually, so is “La Valse.” Conductor Joann Falletta paired these pieces together for a program of music by Sergei Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel. Two pieces with fascinating history and devastating stories are the subject of this Classically Speaking. Musical performances are by the Buffalo Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, and the Nashville Symphony.
22 minutes | 9 months ago
Classically Speaking: Not A Moment Too Soon - Joel Thompson and "The Seven Last Words Of The Unarmed"
The biblical Seven Last Words of Christ are vulnerable and humanizing. That’s the same effect the seven last words of unarmed Black men who were killed in the last decade had on composer Joel Thompson. So, he set them to music. And performances of the piece have been starting conversations ever since. Hear from the Thompson and a panel of musicians, administrators, and clergy, on Classically Speaking. Find it wherever you get your podcasts, or on 91Classical.org
23 minutes | 10 months ago
Music Should Face The Moment - Garrett McQueen And Scott Blankenship
While protests overnight in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, Garrett McQueen and Scott Blankenship had the task of getting to work and hosting overnight classical music on the radio in nearby St. Paul. The story of that night, plus music for the historic time where we find ourselves, and a look at Trilloquy – the podcast where Garrett and Scott challenge the definition of classical music. Featuring: “Five O’Clock Waltz” by Cristina Spinei, “The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Joel Thompson, Symphony No. 9 by Antonin Dvorak, “Grover’s Corners” from “Our Town” by Aaron Copland, Hip-Hop’s Love Ballad by Thee Phantom and Phoenix, “Confessions” by Sudanese Archives, “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” arranged by Titus Underwood. Find Trilloquy at Trilloquy.org.
10 minutes | a year ago
Video And The Radio Star
Doors are locked, auditoriums are empty, and no tickets have been sold. In the middle of an unprecedented concert hall closure, virtual music making is the only path forward for a while. Virtual choirs are putting forth the image of what they would do in person, while some of Nashville’s youngest musicians are making digital connections to senior citizens. Meanwhile, protests continue across the country. Classically Speaking is not going to ignore this moment, but first we wanted to spotlight the voices of two podcasts that feature Black creators. “Overture” to “Trilloquy” Season 2 includes a look at Joel Thompson’s “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” plus host Garrett McQueen’s description of working just blocks away from Minneapolis protests. Also, “We Can’t Breathe…Again” is an episode of Delanie Harris and Katie Brown’s podcast “Classically Black.”
9 minutes | a year ago
Erin Hall And The Great Comeback
10 minutes | a year ago
The Happy Hour Expert, Harpist Kirsten Agresta Copley
One year ago how many of us would have predicted that our spring would be filled with meetings and social calls over video-conference? Even happy hour, the perennial post-work get-together has been transferred, in many cases to Zoom and Google Hangouts. As Classically Speaking continues to document these unprecedented times, it felt like the right moment to consult an expert in happy hours. Harpist Kirsten Agresta Copley is experienced with these situations, and gave her advice for transferring them to the digital world. She, like so many musicians, is looking forward to being with a live audience once again. But she's also been working to translate as much of her work as possible to an online format.
10 minutes | a year ago
Safe At Home And Making Music
A dispatch from social isolation with musician Matthew Phelps.
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