A Record With Performances By The Kansas City Symphony Earns Grammy Nominations

Nov 28, 2017

The nominees for the 60th annual Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday, and the Kansas City Symphony performs on a record nominated in two categories.

The recording is Adam Schoenberg: American Symphony; Finding Rothko; Picture Studies, and it features the Kansas City Symphony conducted by music director Michael Stern

Engineers Keith O. Johnson and Sean Royce Martin are nominated in the category of Best Engineered Album, Classical; Schoenberg is nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The record is also included in the body of work that earned David Frost a nomination for Producer of the Year, Classical.

"Receiving a Grammy nomination is a great honor," says the Symphony's executive director Frank Byrne.   

Credit courtesy: Reference Recordings

Adam Schoenberg: American Symphony; Finding Rothko; Picture Studies marks the Symphony's fifth release on the Reference Recordings label, and Stern has had a long collaboration with composer Adam Schoenberg. 

"We're very proud of this recording because it features two works which were commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony and the third work was commissioned by Michael Stern for his IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee," Byrne says. "So it's really music that we have a close connection with." 

Previously, the Symphony has recorded works by composers such as Camille Saint-Saens and Benjamin Britten (Britten's Orchestra won a Grammy in the Surround Sound Album category in 2011). This marks their first recording of works by a contemporary composer. 

"Championing new music is an important part of our mission," says Byrne. "And to have it released on a disc like this, where a single composer's work is given this profile, is both important for Adam and important for the Kansas City Symphony." 

And, he adds, "we really hope it wins." 

In one category, the Symphony faces a competitor with ties to Kansas City: Jennifer Higdon, the Barr Institute Laureate at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, who's in the running for two Grammys.

Higdon: Viola Concerto, recorded by the Nashville Symphony, is als0 nominated in the Contemporary Classical Composition category. And Higdon's All Things Majestic, Viola Concerto & Oboe Concerto is a nominee for Classical Compendium. Previously, Higdon won a Grammy in 2010 for her Percussion Concerto

Mezzo soprano and Prairie Village, Kansas, native Joyce DiDonato received a nomination in the Classical Solo Vocal Album category for her recording In War & Peace — Harmony Through Music. DiDonato has won two Grammys for Joyce & Tony - Live from Wigmore Hall in 2016, and her solo recording Diva Divo in 2012. 

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on January 28, 2018, from New York City's Madison Square Garden. The complete list of nominees is here

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.