Classical Grammy Awards to Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Symphony

Sunday, February 10, 2013 - 04:57 PM

Chamber Group Eighth Blackbird performs at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 10 Chamber Group Eighth Blackbird performs at the Grammy Awards (

The San Francisco Symphony, led by Michael Tilson Thomas, won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance on Sunday for its album of John Adams's Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine.

The orchestra beat out a Sibelius collection from the Minnesota Orchestra, which had been considered a sentimental favorite because of a bitter labor dispute that has delayed the group's season for four months.

San Francisco has been on something of a roll lately. The Adams recording, released on its house SFS Media label, marks the ensemble's fifth Grammy Award in the best orchestral category and 15th Grammy overall (seven of which went to its recent Mahler cycle).

The classical awards were given out in a pre-telecast ceremony streamed live on

The Metropolitan Opera won the Grammy for Best Opera Recording, for a DVD of the Robert Lepage production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Although the production has received decidedly mixed reviews from critics and audiences, the five-disc set took top honors in a highly competitive category.

The set's cast includes Hans-Peter König, Jay Hunter Morris, Bryn Terfel and Deborah Voigt, conducted by James Levine and Fabio Luisi.

Having performed on the live webcast, the Chicago new-music group Eighth Blackbird took the Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for its album "Meanwhile." It features works by Missy Mazzoli, Thomas Adès, Philip Glass, Philippe Hurel and Stephen Hartke, the latter of whom wrote the title track.

Hartke's Meanwhile also received the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. In receiving the award, the composer joked, "I didn't write that," referring to a smooth jazz tune that played as he took the stage.

Soprano Renée Fleming's "Poèmes," a collection of French repertoire, received the award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, an album that featured the conducting tag team of Alan Gilbert and Seiji Ozawa. The award for Best Instrumental Solo went to violist Kim Kashkashian for her collection of works by Kurtág & Ligeti.

The Kansas City Chorale conducted by Charles Bruffy took the Grammy for Best Choral Performance, for their album, "Life & Breath: Choral Works By René Clausen." The recording also won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Classical.

The classical Producer of the Year award went to a newcomer, Blanton Alspaugh, for his work on seven albums including the Clausen set. And the award for Best Engineered Album in the non-classical category went to the Goat Rodeo Sessions, featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.


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Comments [2]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

NOWADAYS ITS POLITICAL AND REACHES DOWN TO THE LOWEST DENOMINATOR. CLASSICAL ARTISTS ARE LISTE IN A SNAKE TRAVELING FAST AT THE VERY CLOSE OF THE PROGRAM. THE SO-CALLED SINGERS ARE MORE SPEAKERS THAN SINGERS AND THEIR VOCAL TIMBRES ARE SIMILARLY UNDISTINGUISHED. BIG TIME STUPIDITY HAS TAKEN OVER OUR "CULTURE." What is the point of reducing our so called spending budgets to the point where nothing of value exists in the USA? My cousin MICHAEL BLANKFORT wrote both the books and screenplays for the 1953 film THE JUGGLER Hollywood film made in Israel starring KIRK DOUGLAS and the 1950 Hollywood film BROKEN ARROW starring JAMES STEWART and JEFF CHANDLER [Cochise]. The music for THE JUGGLER was composed by opera composer GEORGE ANTHEIL, in whose opera VOLPONE I sang the tenor leading role [Mosca] in its professional world premiere in NEW YORK in 1953. ANTHEIL, famous for his opera TRANSATLANTIC and BALLET MECHANIQUE looked exactly like Peter Lorre. I am a romantischer heldentenor. I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I opened my three hour concert with the Invocazione di Orfeo from Jacopo Peri's opera EURIDICE composed in 1600, the first opera, composed in the same year as Shakespeare wrote HAMLET. It, and from the same concert, can be heard my singing Florestan's "Gott, welch Dunkel hier ! from Beethoven's FIDELIO and "Sound an Alarm" from Handel's JUDAS MACXCABAEUS in the live performance on my three websites,, ,, and It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. My voice teachers were the legendary MET OPERA singers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, Karin Branzell and Margarete Matzenauer. As an opera composer myself ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] I fully comprehend the assumed urgency of recognition of the still living. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where I train actors in all the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers in all the Wagner opera roles. My singing of TRISTAN, GOTTERDAMMERUNG SIEGFRIED, SIEGFRIED, SIEGMUND, RIENZI, LOHENGRIN, WALTHER VON STOLZING PARSIFAL, ELEAZAR, FEDERICO, ORFEO and OTELLO can also be heard at RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites listed above.

Feb. 12 2013 11:39 PM

It's possible that classical music might expand its audience if WQXR and other leading arts organizations petitioned to make the Grammy awards for classical music part of the regular Grammy awards show and not part of some pre-show telecast. Just a thought…

Feb. 11 2013 04:55 PM

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