The Recording Academy has announced the nominees for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards which will be given on January 28, 2014. While mainstream media outlets have called attention to Jay Z’s nine nominations as well as contenders such as “Blurred Lines” (the Robin Thicke song and not the 10-minute microtonal violin and harpsichord duo by Canadian composer John Beckwith), there have been fewer reports about nominees in other categories and there are a total of 82 of them this time around.
At New Music USA, we were pleased to see that its Cary Program grant awardee Roomful of Teeth has been nominated for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their debut album on New Amsterdam Records. Another New Amsterdam release, Darcy James Argue’s album Brooklyn Babylon, which New Music USA funded through its CAP-Recording Program is up for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. (Argue has been featured in NewMusicBox both as a writer and an interviewee.) In addition, Evelyn Glennie has been nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo on a recording of John Corigliano’s Conjurer featuring the Albany Symphony, a participant in the New Music USA-League of American Orchestras Music Alive program.
I’m also intrigued by another nominee for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, the quartet of Vicki Ray, William Winant, Aron Kallay, and Tom Peters who have been nominated for their realization of John Cage’s The 10,000 Things which, enabled by a custom I Ching Player, offers over 25 hours of listening to every possible combination of simultaneous performances of five Cage compositions: 31’57.9864” for a pianist; 27’10.55” for a percussionist; 34’46.776” for a pianist; 26’1.1149” for a string player; and 45’ for a speaker (from a long lost 1962 recording of John Cage reading). If this wins it will mark the first-ever Grammy Award for music by John Cage.
A highlight of Roomful of Teeth’s CD, Caroline Shaw’s Partita (which was the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music), has been nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition as have Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto and Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks (additionally, Dawn Upshaw’s performance of it has been nominated for Best Classical Vocal Solo) plus works by Arvo Pärt (Adam’s Lament) and Magnus Lindberg (Piano Concerto No. 2).
Albums by Gary Burton, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gerald Clayton, Kenny Garrettm, and Christian McBride are all in the running for Best Jazz Instrumental Album while the nominees for Best Improvised Jazz Solo are Terence Blanchard, Paquito D’Rivera, Fred Hersch, Donny McCaslin, and Wayne Shorter. Multiple Grammy Award winning film composers John Williams and Thomas Newman will be competing for the category now named Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media along with Canadian composer Mychael Danna, Scottish composer Craig Armstrong and French composer Alexandre Desplat (who is actually competing against himself since his scores for both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty made the cut). But this year there are only three nominees for Best Musical Theatre Album: the cast albums for Kinky Boots (featuring music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper), Matilda (music and lyrics by Tim Minchin), and Motown: The Musical, a jukebox musical compiling songs by numerous authors.
And, as several commenters have remarked below, the debut recording of the Maryland-based chamber orchestra inscape, which features world premiere recordings of six works by three composers (Nathan Lincoln-DeCusatis, Joseph Hallman, and Justin Boyer) and has previously been featured on NewMusicBox, has been nominated in the Best Surround Sound Album category. It’s particularly thrilling when an album of new music gets nominated outside the ghetto of the classical categories!
A complete guide to all the nominees can be found on the official website for the Grammys.