NEC 2011 Grammy Nominations

NEC Alumni, Faculty among those recognized with Grammy Nominations

NEC Alumni, Faculty Honored with 2011 Grammy Nominations

Parker Quartet ‘08 Cited for Ligeti Recording

Darcy James Argue ’02 Nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

2010 Grammy nomineesNew England Conservatory alumni and faculty from both the classical and jazz worlds have been honored with 2011 Grammy Award nominations, which were announced Dec. 1. The 53rd Annual Awards ceremony will be televised live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, 8pm EST, on CBS.

The Parker Quartet ‘08, which studied at NEC both on the undergraduate level and in the Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program, was nominated in Category 103 for Best Chamber Music Performance. The ensemble was recognized for its recording of the Ligeti String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 on the Naxos label. Since leaving the Conservatory and winning several important competitions, the Parkers (Daniel Chong, violin I, Karen Kim, violin II, Jessica Bodner, viola, Kee-Hyun Kim, cello) have been ensemble-in-residence at both the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Public Radio. The quartet will next perform in Boston on Friday, Dec. 10 in Kim Kashkashian’s Music for Food for Music series benefiting the Great Boston Food Bank. The performance takes place at 6 p.m. in Boston’s Emmanuel Church.

NEC musicians are prominent in four recordings nominated in Category 48, Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:

Darcy James Argue ’02 M.M. and his Secret Society were nominated in Category 48 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for the album Infernal Machines. Other players in the group include Josh Sinton '03 M.M. and Mark Small ’00 M.M., reeds; Jennifer Wharton ’00, bass trombone; Sebastian Noelle '02 G.D., guitars. A Vancouver native, Argue came to NEC to study with legendary jazz composer Bob Brookmeyer.  Ben Ratliff of the New York Times has written of Argue’s work: “The music was full of large-scale, intricate designs [...] built on some of the best lessons of Charles Mingus and Bob Brookmeyer, not only in harmony and structure but also in momentum, in moving a piece forward. [...]. A big, broad musical vocabulary came together easily, without jump-cutting or wrenching shifts of style. Mr. Argue made all these elements belong together naturally.”

NEC visiting artist-in-residence Dave Holland ’03 hon. D.M.A. and his Octet were nominated for the album, Pathways, also in Category 48 Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Holland, who spends a week each semester coaching and performing with NEC jazz students, won the 2005 Grammy Award in this same category for Overtime by the Dave Holland Big Band.

Percussionist Antonio Sanchez ’98 is among the players, along with the Billy Childs Ensemble and Ying String Quartet, recognized for Autumn: In Moving Pictures—Jazz-Chamber Music Vol. 2.

Saxophonist Wayne Escoffery ’99 TMIJP, ’00 M.M. is one of the performers on the nominated Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard.

NEC is also represented on these jazz albums:

Freddy Cole ’56 (and a member of NEC’s Board of Visitors) was nominated in Category 45 for Best Jazz Vocal Album for his Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B. The recording pays tribute to Billy Eckstine, who Cole credits as being a major influence on his style.

Sara Serpa ’09 M.M. and former faculty Jamey Haddad appear on Danilo Perez‘s Providencia, nominated in Category 47 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

In the classical categories:

Christopher Oldfather ’74 M.M. and Jennifer Frautschi ’94 Prep, ’96 A.D. are the pianist and first violinist of the Fred Sherry String Quartet which was nominated for its recording of the Schoenberg: String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4, and the Phantasy in Category 103 for Best Chamber Music Performance.

John McLaughlin Williams ’83, violinist, pianist and conductor, was nominated in two categories: No.101 Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) and 103. Best Chamber Music Performance for Quincy Porter Complete Viola Works. In the former category, he is cited for his conducting; in the latter for his piano accompaniment. Coincidentally, Quincy Porter came to NEC as Dean of Faculty in 1938 and served as Director of the Conservatory from 1942—46.

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project which was named NEC’s “affiliate orchestra for new music” in 1998, was nominated in three categories for Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse. The album, conducted by Gil Rose, was recognized in Category 95, Best Engineered Album, Classical; Category 97, Best Classical Album; and Category 98, Best Orchestral Performance. Numerous NEC alumni play in the orchestra and share in the performance (but not the engineering) honors.

For more information on NEC’s past Grammy winners, check the Website


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory 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 Collaboration Programs, 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 and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic 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