Daniel Caruth

Tesla Quartet

In their debut recording, the Tesla Quartet invites classical music fans to rethink stereotypes with offerings of Haydn, Ravel and Stravinsky.

“We often hear people say classical music is very relaxing, very soothing," says cellist Serafim Smigelskiy. "But, you probably shouldn’t listen to Stravinsky before going to bed.”

Duo Noire

For guitarists Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett, who perform as Duo Noire, discovering that a major calssical guitar showcase held in the 21st century included no women composers and few, if any, women performers came as a shock. Then an epiphany.

"I was just so blown away that that was still happening in 2015," Flippin says. "This is ridicuoulous."

Sarah Mesko

While growing up, mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko, 33, thought of the age as the "Jesus birthday." Although she may not be the next Messiah, this University of Arkansas alumna's star is certainly on the rise in the music world. 

Mesko, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut last year appearing in Mozart's The Magic Flute, returns to Arkansas this week to open the Faulkner Performing Arts Center's 2018-19 season.

Serrano-Torres/Yiaz Yang

Christian Serrano-Torres learned to play music before he could barely speak English. After ten years in Puerto Rico he moved with his family to Georgia where he joined the school orchestra at age 12 to help him fit in. He says the cello was something he fell into, but eventually the instrument became an emotional outlet- playing Bach to stave off sadness and depression. 

© 2018 by Michael McHale/Frank Miller

Pianist Michael McHale closes out the Fort Smith Symphony's 2018-19 season, performing Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition." Last year he stopped by KUAF for an in-studio performance. Listen as he takes on a moment from Mussorgsky's "Pictures," a nocturne from John Field and a jazzy interpretation of the Irish classic "Danny Boy."

McHale speaks with Of Note's Katy Henriksen about the innovations of Mussorgsky, how he incorporates contemporary music into his work and why "it all comes back to Ireland" when he plays. 

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