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THE SCOOP | Canadian Classical Music Represents At The 61st Grammy Awards

By Michael Vincent on December 7, 2018

The 61st annual Grammy Awards have announced the complete list of nominees.

This year, six Canadian artists and groups are nominated over the 10 classical music categories.

James Ehnes is nominated for in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category for his September 2018 album release, Kernis: Violin Concerto, featuring the Seatle Symphony and conductor Ludovic Morlot.

For Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, piano duo Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes are strong contenders for their innovative take on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring Concerto Transcription for pianos.

For the second year in a row, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is nominated for their latest album of concertos by Vaughan Williams with Peter Oundjian in the Best Classical Compendium category. Readers can read our review here.

TSO Vaughan Williams album producer, Blanton Alspaugh, also has a nod for producer of the year (also for the second year in a row).

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album honours Les Violons Du Roy (Anthony Roth Costanzo; Jonathan Cohen, conductor) for their album ARC, featuring composers Philip Glass, George Frideric Handel,  David Byrne.

In the best Opera Recording category, baritone Gerald Finley is nominated alongside John Adams, Aubrey Allicock, Julia Bullock, Brindley Sherratt, Friedemann Engelbrecht, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers.

This year the Grammy Awards will move back to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, after spending last year as New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The 61st Grammy Awards will air live on February 10, 2019 on CBS.

The ceremony will recognize the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which ran from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018.


Best Orchestral Performance:

  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1 — Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 & Symphony No. 4 — Thomas Dausgaard, conductor (Seattle Symphony)
  • Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works — David Alan Miller, conductor (National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic)
  • Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 — Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony)
  • Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11 — Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording

  • Adams: Doctor Atomic — John Adams, conductor; Aubrey Allicock, Julia Bullock, Gerald Finley & Brindley Sherratt; Friedemann Engelbrecht, producer (BBC Symphony Orchestra; BBC Singers)
  • Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs —  Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edwards Parks, Garrett Sorenson & Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • Lully: Alceste —  Christophe Rousset, conductor; Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro & Judith Van Wanroij; Maximilien Ciup, producer (Les Talens Lyriques; Choeur De Chambre De Namur)
  • Strauss, R.: Der Rosenkavalier — Sebastian Weigle, conductor; Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Günther Groissböck & Erin Morley; David Frost, producer (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
  • Verdi: Rigoletto — Constantine Orbelian, conductor; Francesco Demuro, Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Nadine Sierra; Vilius Keras & Aleksandra Keriene, producers (Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra; Men Of The Kaunas State Choir)

Best Choral Performance

  • Chesnokov: Teach Me Thy Statutes — Vladimir Gorbik, conductor (Mikhail Davydov & Vladimir Krasov; PaTRAM Institute Male Choir)
  • Kastalsky: Memory Eternal — Steven Fox, conductor (The Clarion Choir)
  • Mcloskey: Zealot Canticles —Donald Nally, conductor (Doris Hall-Gulati, Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko, Lorenzo Raval & Mandy Wolman; The Crossing)
  • Rachmaninov: The Bells — Mariss Jansons, conductor; Peter Dijkstra, chorus master (Oleg Dolgov, Alexey Markov & Tatiana Pavlovskaya; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Chor Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)
  • Seven Words From The Cross— Matthew Guard, conductor (Skylark)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

  • Anderson, Laurie: Landfall — Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet
  • Beethoven, Shostakovich & Bach — The Danish String Quartet
  • Blueprinting — Aizuri Quartet
  • Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring Concerto For Two Pianos — Leif Ove Andsnes & Marc-André Hamelin

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

  • Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2 — Yuja Wang; Simon Rattle, conductor (Berliner Philharmoniker)
  • Biber: The Mystery Sonatas — Christina Day Martinson; Martin Pearlman, conductor (Boston Baroque)
  • Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46; Violin Concerto No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 26 — Joshua Bell (The Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields)
  • Glass: Three Pieces In The Shape Of A Square — Craig Morris
  • Kernis: Violin Concerto — James Ehnes; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Seattle Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

  • Arc — Anthony Roth Costanzo; Jonathan Cohen, conductor (Les Violons Du Roy)
  • The Handel Album — Philippe Jaroussky; Artaserse, ensemble
  • Mirages — Sabine Devieilhe; François-Xavier Roth, conductor (Alexandre Tharaud; Marianne Crebassa & Jodie Devos; Les Siècles)
  • Schubert: Winterreise — Randall Scarlata; Gilbert Kalish, accompanist
  • Songs Of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’india & Landi — Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo’s Fire, ensembles

Best Classical Compendium

  • Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush — JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • Gold — The King’s Singers; Nigel Short, producer
  • The John Adams Edition — Simon Rattle, conductor; Christoph Franke, producer
  • John Williams At The Movies — Jerry Junkin, conductor; Donald J. McKinney, producer
  • Vaughan Williams: Piano Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Serenade To Music; Flos Campi — Peter Oundjian, conductor; Blanton Alspaugh, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

  • Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs— Mason Bates, composer; Mark Campbell, librettist (Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edwards Parks, Jessica E. Jones & Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • Du Yun: Air Glow — Du Yun, composer (International Contemporary Ensemble)
  • Heggie: Great Scott — Jake Heggie, composer; Terrence McNally, librettist (Patrick Summers, Manuel Palazzo, Mark Hancock, Michael Mayes, Rodell Rosel, Kevin Burdette, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn, Frederica von Stade, Ailyn Pérez, Joyce DiDonato, Dallas Opera Chorus & Orchestra)
  • Kernis: Violin Concerto — Aaron Jay Kernis, composer (James Ehnes, Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)
  • Mazzoli: Vespers For Violin — Missy Mazzoli, composer (Olivia De Prato)


Best Engineered Album, Classical

  • Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs — Mark Donahue & Dirk Sobotka, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edwards Parks, Jessica E. Jones & Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1 — Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • John Williams At The Movies — Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers; Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Jerry Junkin & Dallas Winds)
  • Liquid Melancholy – Clarinet Music Of James M. Stephenson — Bill Maylone & Mary Mazurek, engineers; Bill Maylone, mastering engineer (John Bruce Yeh)
  • Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11 — Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
  • Visions And Variations — Tom Caulfield, engineer; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (A Far Cry)

Producer Of The Year, Classical

  • Blanton Alspaugh
  • Manfred Eicher
  • *David Frost
  • Morten Lindberg
  • Judith Sherman

Good luck to all the nominees!

Michael Vincent
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