THE SCOOP | Classical music at the Grammys: Yannick Nézet-Séguin and other Canadian victories

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Photo: Hans Van Der Woerd)

The Canadians took home two trophies at the 2022 Grammy Awards in the Classical Music Division, with several other wins in other categories.

Superstar bandleader Yannick Nézet-Séguin won a Grammy for a recording by a long-neglected American composer at the 2022 awards.

Additionally, Ottawa songwriter/musician Nadeem Majdalany became a member of the album’s winner’s circle. Mythologies in Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

The Grammys were presented in Las Vegas, with an April 3 broadcast. The show had been postponed from its original date in Los Angeles on January 31 due to the Omicron COVID wave.

Florence Prize

Released on the Deutsche Grammophon label, the recording of Price’s First and Third Symphonies by the Philadelphia Orchestra is significant and akin to a historical correction.

Florence Beatrice Price was an African-American composer, pianist, organist and educator. Born in Arkansas, she made her career in Chicago.

Her first symphony made history when Price became the first African-American woman have his music played by a great American orchestra. It premiered in 1933, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to positive reviews.

While composed during the Great Depression, Price Third Symphony also came in an era known as the Chicago Renaissance. Writers and artists like Langston Hughes and Richard Wright were becoming increasingly important. The symphony was commissioned by the Federal Music Project.

Unfortunately, Price Second Symphony was lost to time and neglect, and most of his works, like those of other black classical composers, were rarely performed after his death in 1953.

However, the discovery in 2009 of a large cache of his papers and works led to a rehabilitation of his work into the classical music repertoire and a new series of recordings, including the award-winning album Grammys.

The classic Grammys

  • Best Engineering Album, Classical: Chanticleer sings Christmas — Leslie Ann Jones, Engineer (Chanticleer)
  • Producer of the Year, Classic: Judith Sherman
  • Best Orchestral Performance: Prize: Symphonies No. 1 & 3 — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Best Opera Recording: Glass: Akhenaten — Karen Kamensek, conductor; J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Zachary James & Dísella Lárusdóttir; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
  • Best Choral Performance: Mahler: Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand” — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Grant Gershon, Robert Istad, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz & Luke McEndarfer, choirmasters (Leah Crocetto, Mihoko Fujimura, Ryan McKinny, Erin Morley, Tamara Mumford, Simon O’Neill, Morris Robinson & Tamara Wilson; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus & Pacific Chorale)
  • Best Chamber/Small Ensemble Performance: Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears — Yo-Yo Ma & Emanuel Ax
  • Best Classical Instrumental Solo: alone together -Jennifer Ko
  • Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: Mythologies — Sangeeta Kaur & Hila Plitmann (Virginie D’Avezac De Castera, Lili Haydn, Wouter Kellerman, Nadeem MajdalanyEru Matsumoto & Emilio D. Miler)
  • Best classical collection: Women Warriors — Voices of Change — Amy Andersson, conductor; Amy Andersson, Mark Mattson and Lolita Ritmanis, producers
  • Best Contemporary Classical Composition: “Shaw: Narrow Sea” — Caroline Shaw, Composer (Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish & Sō Percussion)

Other Canadian victories

Other Canadians on the Grammy podium included Joni Mitchell, which won its ninth National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences trophy in the category of Best Historical Album for Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 1: The early years (1963-1967).

  • A seventh Grammy for sound engineer Charles Moniz for Silk Sonic Leave the door openwho won the record of the year;
  • Alex Cuba in the best Latin pop album for Mendo (an album he recorded in his living room during the pandemic);
  • Dream Theater, (whose singer and songwriter James LaBrie native of Penetanguishene, Ontario, won the best
  • rock performance for “The Alien”;
  • The weekend in the category best melodic rap performance for his collaboration with Kanye West in the song “Hurricane”.

But, is anyone still watching…?

According to the figures, the audience for the Grammys ceremonies has been in decline for several years. While presenter antics have boosted Oscar ratings this year, the Grammys aren’t expecting a similar 60% increase.

  • In 2021, the audience for the Grammys was 8.8 million viewers, an all-time low and a 53% decrease compared to 2020which attracted 18.7 million.
  • In 2012, the audience was 39 million, but had dropped from 25.5 million in 2018 and 2019 to around 20 million.

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Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see everything)
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