Top Five Classical Grammy Winners of All Time
Friday, February 10, 2012
The 54th Grammy Awards (which air Feb. 12 on CBS) will feature dozens of musicians and performances. However, the closest the telecast gets to classical will the appearance of classic rockers such as Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney (who’s flirted with symphonic composing over the years). Still classical musicians are among the most decorated artists throughout Grammy's history. We’ve collected the five most successful.
1. Georg Solti
Over his career, Georg Solti won more statuettes than Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and the Beatles combined. Between 1962 and 1997, the conductor collected 31 Grammy Awards (nine for best orchestral performance, eight for best opera recording, seven for best non-opera choral recording, six for best classical recording overall and one for the best chamber orchestra recording). And that’s not including his lifetime achievement award which he received in 1996.
2. Pierre Boulez
Another conductor with strong ties to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, lands on the list as receiving the fourth-most Grammys in history (25). Only three of his awards came for his composition skills, as compared to eight awards for his interpretation of Bartok works. The CSO’s current music director, Riccardo Muti, has continued the tradition, bringing the ensemble’s total Grammy wins to 62.
3. Vladimir Horowitz
Tied with Boulez at the number four slot is eccentric pianist Vladimir Horowitz. (His total also does not include the President’s Special Merit Award he won posthumously in 1990, the year after he died.) The legendary musician was 60 years old when he received his first Grammy award for his 1962 album, Columbia Records Presents Vladimir Horowitz. He won a second posthumous award in 1993 for Horowitz: Discovered Treasures
4. John Williams
Soundtrack composer par excellence John Williams has dominated the Best Score category since he won his first Grammy in 1975 for the music for the movie Jaws. Then from 1977 through 1982 he swept the category with compositions for Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. He only won two Academy Awards over the same time. However, Williams’s success makes him the most honored living composer according to the Recording Academy.
5. Yo-Yo Ma
The last place on our list goes to a second soloist, who will likely add to his 16-trophy Grammy collection, "Yo-Yo." The cellist has as many awards as Leonard Bernstein (as well as Sting and Beyoncé). He’s also one of the few classical musicians who has performed during the telecast recently. Ma’s last three Grammy’s have been in the controversial classical crossover category (which no longer exists as of this year).