- 4 February, 2010
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American composer Jennifer Higdon took home the Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for her Percussion Concerto (London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop). This is Ms. Higdon’s second Grammy®; she won in 2004 for her Concerto for Orchestra/City Scape which featured the Atlanta Symphony.
Veteran Producer Steven Epstein took home the award for Producer of the Year, Classical, for his work on Bernstein’s MASS (Marin Alsop, Jubilant Sykes, Morgan State University Choir, Peabody Children’s Chorus & Baltimore Symphony Orchestra); Corigliano’s A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (Leonard Slatkin, George Mabry, Sir Thomas Allen, Nashville Symphony Chorus & Orchestra); and Fauré’s Piano Quintets (Fine Arts Quartet & Cristina Oritz).
In 2008, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Marin Alsop, a Leonard Bernstein protégé, performed a series of sold-out concerts of MASS in Baltimore and in Washington, D.C. In addition to Baltimore and D.C. events, the BSO performed MASS in New York City at Carnegie Hall as part of the citywide festival Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds, and as part of The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall’s Bernstein Mass Project, at the United Place Theater in Upper Manhattan where 500 New York City public school children sang in the chorus of MASS alongside the BSO. These performances and the associated studio recording featured nearly 250 performers, including baritone Jubilant Sykes as the Celebrant, the Morgan State University Chorus, the Peabody Children’s Chorus and a stellar Broadway cast of 20 performing as the “street people.” This year, Ms. Alsop has taken Bernstein’s MASS Project to the Southbank Centre in London, where a nine-month-long series of workshops will culminate in two performances of the work in London’s Royal Festival Hall on July 10 and 11, 2010.
Composer Jennifer Higdon has been hailed by the Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” the League of American Orchestras reports that she is one of America’s most frequently performed composers. Higdon has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters (two awards), the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP. In addition she has received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Higdon has been a Featured Composer at festivals including Tanglewood, Vail, Norfolk, Winnipeg and Cabrillo. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-06 season), the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra (2006-07 season), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (2007-08). Her works have been recorded on over two dozen CDs. In Spring of 2003 Telarc released blue cathedral with the Atlanta Symphony, Robert Spano, conducting, on a disc that made the Classical Billboard charts. In 2004 the Atlanta Symphony released the Grammy-winning Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra/City Scape. December 2006 saw the release of a compact disc of Higdon’s chamber music on Naxos (Naxos 8559298), as well as a Grammy-winning recording with eighth blackbird. During the 2008-09 season, Naxos released Higdon’s Short Stories performed by the Ancia Saxophone Quartet (Naxos 8559616) and Koch released a recording of Higdon’s flute and chamber works. The 2009-10 season will feature two releases from Telarc, Higdon’s Dooryard Bloom and The Singing Rooms. She currently holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is recognized as one of the world’s great orchestras, and following Sir Thomas Beecham’s founding tenure the ensemble’s Principal Conductorship has been passed from one celebrated musician to another. The LPO has long been embraced by the recording, broadcasting and film industries as well. In 2005 the orchestra began releasing live, studio and archive recordings on its own label, LPO, which are distributed worldwide.