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Ludwig Van
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THE SCOOP | Opera Singers Net Canada’s Only Grammy 2020 Nomination In Classical Music Categories

By Anya Wassenberg on November 20, 2019

Krisztina Szabó and Barbara Hannigan
Krisztina Szabó (Photo :; Barbara Hannigan (Photo : Marco Borggreve)

One single recording, and two Canadian opera singers, are the nation’s only representation among the Grammy Award nominations for 2020 in the classical music categories.

Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan, recently seen on Toronto stages with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, is one of several nominees for the recording Benjamin: Lessons in Love & Violence on the Opus Arte label, with George Benjamin conducting the Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House.

Canadian mezzo soprano Krisztina Szabó is also part of the same recording. Also listed in the nomination are singers Stéphane Degout, Peter Hoare, and Gyula Orendt, along with producer James Whitbourn.

Canada’s slim pickings at the 2020 Grammy’s comes in contrast to the 2019 Grammy Awards, when Canadian classical music luminaries like James Ehnes, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Marc-André Hamelin made the list.

In other categories, Drake leads the Canadian Grammy contingent with two nominations for collaborations in the rap and R&B categories, one of them co-produced by Toronto’s Noah Shebib.

Pop singer and songwriters Shawn Mendes and Jessie Reyez got one nod each, Mendes for his collaboration “Senorita” with Camila Cabello in the best pop duo or group performance category. Jessie Reyez is nominated for her album Being Human in Public in the urban contemporary album category.

Singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar is nominated in the best R&B performance category alongside singer Brandy, and Michael Bublé’s album Love is nominated for best traditional pop vocal album.

Alberta’s Northern Cree got their ninth career Grammy nomination for their album When It’s Cold — Cree Round Dance Songs in the best regional roots music album category.

Singer-songwriter Bernie Herms is nominated in the best contemporary Christian music performance or song category.

The 62nd Grammy Awards air Sunday, Jan. 26 on CBS and CityTV.


Best Orchestral Performance

  • Brucker, Symphony No. 9 – Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • Copland: Billy the Kid; Grohg – Leonard Slatkin, conductor (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
  • Norman: Sustain – Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • Transatlantic – Louis Langrée, conductor (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)
  • Weiberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21 – Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, conductor (City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Kremerata Baltica)

Best Opera Recording

  • Benjamin: Lessons in Love & Violence – George Benjamin, conductor; Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Peter Hoare & Gyula Orendt; James Whitbourn, producer (Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House)
  • Berg: Wozzeck – Marc Albrecht, conductor; Christopher Maltman & Eva-Maria Westbroek; François Roussillon, producer (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra; Chorus Of Dutch National Opera)
  • Charpentier: Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles – Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Jesse Blumberg, Teresa Wakim & Virginia Warnken; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble)
  • Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox – Gil Rose, conductor; John Brancy, Andrew Craig Brown, Gabriel Preisser, Krista River & Edwin Vega; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Boston Children’s Chorus)
  • Wagner: Lohengrin – Christian Thielemann, conductor; Piotr Beczała, Anja

Best Choral Performance

  • Boyle: Voyages – Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)
  • Durufle: Complete Chroral Works – Robert Simpson, conductor (Ken Cowan; Houston Chamber Choir)
  • The Hope of Loving – Craig Hella Johnson, conductor (Conspirare)
  • Sander: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom – Peter Jermihov, conductor (Evan Bravos, Vadim Gan, Kevin Keys, Glenn Miller & Daniel Shirley; PaTRAM Institute Singers)
  • Smith, K.: The Arc in the Sky – Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

  • Cerrone, The Pieces That Fall to Earth – Christopher Rountree & Wild Up
  • Freedom & Faith – PUBLIQuartet
  • Perpetulum – Third Coast Percussion
  • Rachmaninoff – Hermitage Piano Trio – Hermitage Piano Trio
  • Shaw Orange – Attacca Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

  • The Berlin Recital – Yuja Wang
  • Higdon: Harp Concerto – Yolanda Kondonassis; Ward Stare, conductor (The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite – Nicola Benedetti; Cristian Măcelaru, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • The Orchestral Organ – Jan Kraybill
  • Torke: Sky, Concerto for Violin – Tessa Lark; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

  • The Edge of Silence – Works for Voice by Gyorgy Kurtag – Susan Narucki (Donald Berman, Curtis Macomber, Kathryn Schulmeister & Nicholas Tolle)
  • Himmelsmusik – Philippe Jaroussky & Céline Scheen; Christina Pluhar, conductor; L’Arpeggiata, ensemble (Jesús Rodil & Dingle Yandell)
  • Schumann: Liederkreis Op. 24, Kerner-Lieder Op. 35 – Matthias Goerne; Leif Ove Andsnes, accompanist
  • Songplay – Joyce DiDonato; Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter & Craig Terry, accompanists (Steve Barnett & Lautaro Greco)
  • A Te, O Cara – Stephen Costello; Constantine Orbelian, conductor (Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium

  • American Originals 1918 – John Morris Russell, conductor; Elaine Martone, producer
  • Leshnoff: Symphony No. 4 ‘Heichalos’; Guitar Concerto; Starburst – Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • Meltzer: Songs and Structures – Paul Appleby & Natalia Katyukova; Silas Brown & Harold Meltzer, producers
  • The Poetry of Places – Nadia Shpachenko; Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin, producers
  • Saariaho: True Fire; Trans; Ciel D’Hiver – Hannu Lintu, conductor; Laura Heikinheimo, producer

Best Classical Composition

  • Berme: Migration Series For Jazz Ensemble & Orchestra – Derek Bermel, composer (Derek Bermel, Ted Nash, David Alan Miller, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra & Albany Symphony Orchestra)
  • Higdon: Harp Concerto – Jennifer Higdon, composer (Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Marsalis: Violin Concerto in D Major – Wynton Marsalis, composer (Nicola Benedetti, Cristian Măcelaru & Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Norman: Sustain – Andrew Norman, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • Shaw: Orange, Caroline Shaw, composer (Attacca Quartet)
  • Wolfe: Fire in My Mouth – Julia Wolfe, composer (Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J.Núñez, Donald Nally, The Crossing, Young People’s Chorus Of NY City & New York Philharmonic)


Best Engineered Album, Classical

  • Aequa – Anna Throvaldsdottir – Daniel Shores, engineer; Daniel Shores, mastering engineer (International Contemporary Ensemble)
  • Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 – Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • Rachmaninoff – Hermitage Piano Trio – Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers; Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Hermitage Piano Trio)
  • Riley: Sun Rings – Leslie Ann Jones, engineer; Robert C. Ludwig, mastering engineer (Kronos Quartet)
  • Wolfe: Fire In My Mouth – Bob Hanlon & Lawrence Rock, engineers; Ian Good & Lawrence Rock, mastering engineers (Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J. Núñez, Donald Nally, The Crossing, Young People’s Chorus Of NY City & New York Philharmonic)

Producer of the Year, Classical

  • Blanton Alspaugh
  • James Ginsburg
  • Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin
  • Morten Lindberg
  • Dirk Sobotka

Good luck to all the nominees!


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Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
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Follow me

Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
Follow me
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