NEC Musicians Honored with Grammy Nominations
Jazz vocalist Luciana Souza '94 M.M., recognized for three separate projects, leads NEC's slate of nominees.
Other faculty/alumni nominations include classical categories and rap.
New England Conservatory alumni and faculty were included in nominations for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, 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 10, 8pm EST, on CBS.
Jazz vocalist Luciana Souza '94 M.M. made the dramatic move of simultaneously releasing two completely different recording projects in a single day earlier this year. Both received Grammy nominations, along with a third project on which Souza provides vocals. Souza has previously received a Grammy award for her work on the 2007 project River: The Joni Letters.
Souza's The Book of Chet is nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album. On this project, Souza explores the singing of jazz trumpet legend Chet Baker, using a playlist of American standards associated with Baker. Duos III, nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album, celebrates the tenth anniversary of Brazilian Duos. All three recordings in this Duos cycle have received Grammy nominations.
Souza's vocals on "Look to Rainbow" close the album Centennial - Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans, which is nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. This project is led by producer and conductor Ryan Truesdell '06 M.M., the first person outside of the Evans family to be granted full access to his musical archives. Truesdell identified fifty previously unknown Gil Evans scores, ten of which appear on this recording. He reports: "I saw thousands of pages of manuscript, and each new box offered up a score or sketch of one of Gil's pieces that I've admired for years."
Other NEC performers on this project include faculty member Donny McCaslin on tenor saxophone and clarinet; Brian Landrus '07 M.M. on baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, alto flute, and piccolo; Marcus Rojas '95 on tuba; and vocalists Wendy Gilles '06 M.M. and Luciana Souza '94 M.M. Gil Evans is posthumously nominated via this project in categories for Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (the Souza solo).
Beyond the acclaim this project has received, it's noteworthy as a recording produced through ArtistShare, which began in 2003 as the Internet's first fan funding platform for artists. Among the artists who have brought projects to light through this medium are the late Bob Brookmeyer of the NEC faculty, current faculty member Donny McCaslin, alumna Rachel Z '84, and noted bandleader Maria Schneider, who has done several residencies at NEC.
Moving to the classical categories, violist Kim Kashkashian, a previous multiple Grammy nominee, is nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for Kurtág & Ligeti: Music for Viola. This release has been well reviewed in Germany; here's an extract from a review in the English-speaking press:
"Economy is key here: Nothing more than necessary is said. Often a wandering line suffices, always coloured with great delicacy by Kashkahsian; harmony, when evoked, is spare and purposeful. Kashkashian excels at fine modulations of unconventional tone … she is an ideal guide to this sinister and lonely territory."
—Andrew Morris, International Record Review
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players are nominated for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, and are the only East Coast–based ensemble nominated in this category. Their nominated recording, Profanes et Sacrées, includes chamber works by Debussy, Dutilleux, and Tomasi. Performers with NEC affiliations include alumni Haldan Martinson '97 M.M., violin, and Edwin Barker '76, bass, as well as faculty members Malcolm Lowe, violin, Elizabeth Rowe, flute, John Ferrillo, oboe, Richard Svoboda, bassoon, and James Sommerville, horn. Mere days after the Grammy Awards ceremony, Sommerville will be seen in a role that is little known to audiences south of the Canadian border, as guest conductor with NEC's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. More on this.
NEC musicians also contributed to projects in the pop categories that traditionally lead off the Grammy nominations list. Beyoncé's "Love on Top," nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance, is one of five tracks on her album 4 that feature the Superpower Horns, five of whose six members are NEC jazz alumni: Cole Kamen-Green '07 and Josiah Woodson '06 M.M., trumpet; Nick Videen '05, tenor and alto saxophone; Drew Sayers '06, tenor and baritone saxophone; and Alex Asher '07 M.M., trombone. The Roots' album Undun, nominated for Best Rap Album, is an "existential concept album" that brought in a wide range of musicians, including a string section arranged by composer Daniel Felsenfeld '96 M.M., '97 G.D., '01 D.M.A. In addition to his work on the recording, Felsenfeld conducted selections from the project televised on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
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 for classical nominees:
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Contact for non-classical nominees:
Braithwaite & Katz