Met Opera Ring and Chicago new-music sextet Eighth Blackbird head the impressive list of winners.

Tim Munro, the Australian flautist with Eighth Blackbird, picked up two awards at the 55th Grammy ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. The Chicago-based new-music ensemble headed a list that positively bristled with accolades for contemporary composers and compositions.

The annual beanfeast with its familiar US musical slant had attracted attention this year more for a leaked internal memo regarding dress codes than for artistic content. Anyone hoping to catch a flash of Renée Fleming’s “bare fleshy under curves” or Yo Yo Ma’s “buttock crack”, with or without “problematic thong-type costume” were, however, sadly disappointed. The classical gongs are now relegated to a demure ‘pre-show’ but the stakes were still high with plenty of big names – albeit many of them rather familiar ones – vying for honours.

The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas picked up their 15th Grammy with the Best Orchestral Performance award for its live album of John Adams, which includes Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine.

The Best Opera Recording award went to the Metropolitan Opera’s controversial new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle co-conducted by James Levine and Fabio Luisi and starring Bryn Terfel and Deborah Voigt. The win was something of a surprise as Robert Lepage’s production has generally had a lukewarm reception from the critics.

Eighth Blackbird’s album Meanwhile picked up the Best Chamber Music award as well as the award for Best Classical Composition for composer Stephen Hartke’s gamelan inspired work, which gives the album its title. The group are on quite a roll as the last three albums they have released have all been Grammy winners.

Eighth Blackbird celebrate their Grammy from left Matthew Duvall, Lisa Kaplan, Michael Maccaferri, Nick Photinos, Tim Munro and Matt Albert
 

 

 

Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean congratulated Tim Munro, and Eighth Blackbird on their wins. “Yesterday I congratulated Gotye on his three Grammy wins, and today I am pleased to be able to congratulate another stand-out Australian musician,” Mr Crean said. “Tim is an outstanding example of the quality of the artistic talent coming out of Australia today and further proof that investment in the arts does produce important dividends for this country”.

Contemporary music had a field day as solo awards went to soprano Renée Fleming for her album Poèmes (music of Messiaen and Dutilleux) and violist Kim Kashkashian (viola music by Kurtág & Ligeti). The Kansas City Chorale received two awards for the album Life & Breath featuring choral works by American composer René Clausen. Blanton Anspaugh was given the Grammy for classical producer of the year.

Meanwhile, slumming it with the rock and pop stars, cellist Yo Yo Ma was the winner in the Best Folk Album category for his bluegrass hit album The Goat Rodeo Sessions.

See subsequent pages for full details of Award Winners and Nominees.

Best Orchestral Performance

WINNER

Adams: Harmonielehre; Short Ride in a Fast Machine

San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas

Avie SFS0053

 

NOMINEES

Mahler: Symphony No 1

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

 

Music For A Time Of War

Oregon Symphony, Carlos Kalmar

 

Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances

London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

 

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 2 & 5

Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

Best Opera Recording

WINNER

 
 
 
 

Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen

James Levine & Fabio Luisi, conductors; Jay Hunter Morris, Bryn Terfel & Deborah Voigt; Jay David Saks, producer; The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

DG 0734770

 

NOMINEES

Berg: Lulu

Michael Boder, conductor; Paul Groves, Ashley Holland, Julia Juon & Patricia Petibon; Johannes Müller, producer; Symphony Orchestra Of The Gran Teatre Del Liceu

 

Handel: Agrippina

René Jacobs, conductor; Marcos Fink, Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta, Alexandrina Pendatchanska & Jennifer Rivera; Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin

 

Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress

Vladimir Jurowski, conductor; Topi Lehtipuu, Miah Persson & Matthew Rose; Jean Chatauret, producer; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Glyndebourne Chorus

 

Vivaldi: Teuzzone

Jordi Savall, conductor; Delphine Galou, Paolo Lopez, Roberta Mameli, Raffaella Milanesi & Furio Zanasi, Jordi Savall & Manuel Mohino, producers; Le Concert Des Nations

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Best Choral Performance

WINNER

Life & Breath: Choral Works By René Clausen

Charles Bruffy, conductor; Matthew Gladden, Lindsey Lang, Rebecca Lloyd, Sarah Tannehill & Pamela Williamson; Kansas City Chorale

CHSA5105

 

 

NOMINEES

Handel: Israel In Egypt

Julian Wachner, conductor; Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Trinity Choir Wall Street

 

Ligeti: Requiem; Apparitions; San Francisco Polyphony

Peter Eötvös, conductor; Barbara Hannigan & Susan Parry; WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln; SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart & WDR Rundfunkchor Köln

 

The Nightingale

Stephen Layton, conductor; Michala Petri; Danish National Vocal Ensemble

 

Striggio: Mass For 40 & 60 Voices

Hervé Niquet, conductor; Le Concert Spirituel

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

WINNER

Meanwhile

Eighth Blackbird

Cedille CDR90000133

 

 

 

NOMINEES

Americana

Modern Mandolin Quartet

 

Mind Meld

ZOFO Duet

 

Profanes Et Sacrées

Boston Symphony Chamber Players

 

Rupa-Khandha

Los Angeles Percussion Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

WINNER

Kurtág & Ligeti: Music For Viola

Kim Kashkashian

ECM 4764729

 

 

 

NOMINEES

Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier

András Schiff

 

Rameau: Complete Harpsichord Works

Jory Vinikour

 

Gál & Elgar: Cello Concertos

Claudio Cruz, conductor; Antonio Meneses; Northern Sinfonia

 

Holst: The Planets

Hansjörg Albrecht

Best Classical Vocal Solo

WINNER

Poèmes

Renée Fleming; Alan Gilbert & Seiji Ozawa; Orchestre National De France & Orchestre Philharmonique De Radio France

Decca 4783500

 

 

NOMINEES

Debussy: Clair De Lune

Natalie Dessay; Henri Chalet; Philippe Cassard, Karine Deshayes & Catherine Michel; Le Jeune Coeur De Paris

 

Homecoming

Joyce DiDonato; Michael Stern; Kansas City Symphony

 

Paris Days, Berlin Nights

Ute Lemper; Stefan Malzew & Vogler Quartet

 

Sogno Barocco

Anne Sofie Von Otter; Leonardo García Alarcón; Sandrine Piau & Susanna Sundberg; Ensemble Cappella Mediterranea

Best Classical Compendium

WINNER

Penderecki: Fonogrammi; Horn Concerto; Partita; The Awakening Of Jacob; Anaklasis

Antoni Wit, conductor; Aleksandra Nagórko & Andrzej Sasin, producers

Naxos 8572482

 

 

NOMINEES

Partch: Bitter Music

Partch, ensemble; John Schneider, producer

 

Une Fête Baroque

Emmanuelle Haïm, conductor; Daniel Zalay, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

WINNER

tephen Har

S

tke: Meanwhile – Incidental Music To Imaginary Puppet Plays

Stephen Hartke, composer; Eighth Blackbird

Cedille CDR90000133

 

 

NOMINEES

Tania León: Inura For Voices, Strings & Percussion

Tania León, composer; Tania León, Son Sonora Voices, DanceBrazil Percussion & Son Sonora Ensemble

 

Ugis Praulins: The Nightingale

Ugis Praulins, composer; Stephen Layton, Michala Petri & Danish National Vocal Ensemble

 

Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cello Concerto No 2 Towards The Horizon

Einojuhani Rautavaara, composer; Truls Mørk, John Storgårds & Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Steven Stucky: August 4, 1964

Steven Stucky, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist Jaap Van Zweden, Dallas Symphony Chorus & Orchestra

Best Engineered Album, Classical

WINNER

Life & Breath – Choral Works By René Clausen

Tom Caulfield & John Newton, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer; Charles Bruffy & Kansas City Chorale

Chandos CHSA5105

 

 

NOMINEES

 

Americana

Daniel Shores, engineer; Daniel Shores, mastering engineer; Modern Mandolin Quartet

 

Beethoven: The Late String Quartets, Op. 127 & 131

Bruce Egre, engineer; Brentano String Quartet

 

Music For A Time Of War

Jesse Lewis & John Newton, engineers; Jesse Brayman, mastering engineer; Carlos Kalmar & The Oregon Symphony

 

Souvenir

Morten Lindberg, engineer; Morten Lindberg, mastering engineer; Trondheim Solistene

Producer Of The Year, Classical

WINNER

Blanton Alspaugh

Chamber Symphonies (Gregory Wolynec & Gateway Chamber Orchestra)

Davis: Río De Sangre (Joseph Rescigno, Vale Rideout, Ava Pine, John Duykers, Kerry Walsh, Guido LeBron, The Florentine Opera Company & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)

Gjeilo: Northern Lights (Charles Bruffy & Phoenix Chorale)

In Paradisum (Brian A. Schmidt & South Dakota Chorale)

Life & Breath – Choral Works By René Clausen (Charles Bruffy & Kansas City Chorale)

Music For A Time Of War (Carlos Kalmar & The Oregon Symphony)

Musto: The Inspector (Glen Cortese & Wolf Trap Opera Company)

 

NOMINEES

 

Tim Handley

 

Marina Ledin, Victor Ledin

 

James Mallinson

 

Dan Merceruio