December 1, 2011

NEC Musicians Honored with Grammy Nominations


Jazz Faculty Past and Present Are Recognized for Performance, Arrangements

Alumni Composers, Vocalists, Instrumentalist also Nominated

One retired and two current Jazz faculty members from New England Conservatory were nominated for Grammy Awards in the 54th Annual honor roll of best recordings. Several composition and vocal alumni and an orchestral trombonist were similarly recognized with nominations that were announced last night.  The Grammy Awards ceremony, on which winners will be revealed, will be televised live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, February 12, 8pm EST, on CBS.

Pianist-composer Fred Hersch, who graduated from NEC in 1977, teaches at the Conservatory, and has previously received three nominations, was nominated in two categories: Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his recording Alone at the Vanguard. Hersch will next perform at NEC on April 26 with Leaves of Grass, his jazz-infused arrangement of texts from Walt Whitman's collection of poems.

Saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón, a member of faculty since 2009 and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, was nominated in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Alma Adentro: the Puerto Rican Songbook. Zenón will conduct an NEC masterclass on Dec. 9 at noon in Pierce Hall.

Composer-arranger-conductor-trombonist Bob Brookmeyer ’08 hon.D.M.A., who served on the NEC faculty from 1997-2007, founded the Jazz Composers Workshop Orchestra, and was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2006, was nominated in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category for Nasty Dance.  This track came from the album Forever Lasting—Live in Tokyo by The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Three alumni composers, Robert Livingston Aldridge '80 M.M., Herschel Garfein '82 M.M. and Jefferson Friedman '92 PREP were also nominated in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition.  The former two were recognized for the opera Elmer Gantry, for which Aldridge composed the music and Garfein wrote the libretto. Friedman was singled out for his String Quartet No. 3.  Friedman will be the composer in residence during the Preparatory School's Today's Youth Perform Today's Music, January 28-29.

Four alumni singers from NEC, Graham Fandrei '99, baritone; Bryon Grohman '94, '96 M.M. tenor ; Julia Mintzer '03 Prep, mezzo-soprano; Stefan Reed '05 M.M., tenor shared a nomination as members of Seraphic Fire, a Florida-based 24-member vocal ensemble. They were recognized in the Best Small Ensemble Performance for A Seraphic Fire Christmas, conducted by Patrick Dupré Quigley.

In the same category, the Bay Brass was nominated for Sound the Bells!, a collection of American premieres for brass composed by John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bruce Broughton and others. A 13-player ensemble, Bay Brass is made up of members of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and other Bay-area brass musicians, including SF Symphony second trombonist Paul Welcomer '85 M.M.

For further information, check the Grammy website.  To learn about past NEC Grammy winners, check our website.

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
617-585-1143
Ellen.pfeifer@necmusic.ed


IT'S LIKE AN ACT OF MURDER; YOU PLAY WITH INTENT TO COMMIT SOMETHING. DUKE ELLINGTON