What a day for Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Two Grammy awards, a matinee performance with Yuja Wang, a contract extension ― and he’s been made into a bobblehead!
The Philadelphia Orchestra music and artistic director was one of several Philadelphia classical Grammy winners on Sunday. He joined the Crossing choir and the Philadelphia Orchestra in winning golden gramophones, dominating the classical categories at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles that preceded the prime time telecast on CBS.
Classical nominees out-performed Philly connected pop, rock, jazz, and gospel musicians up for Grammys this year at the early awards show, which was hosted by comedian and political parodist Randy Rainbow.
Among the Philly acts who didn’t go home with trophies were The War on Drugs, nominated for best rock song for “Harmonia’s Dream,” but bested by “Broken Horses” by Brandi Carlile, who won two rock awards.
Camden gospel choir leader Tye Tribbett lost out in two categories to Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin. Jazz bassist Christian McBride, jazz duo The Baylor Project, band leader Adam Blackstone and engineer Ryan Schwabe were also nominees but didn’t take home awards.
Jazmine Sullivan also lost in two categories in the early ceremony, but her “Hurt Me So Good” was also up against Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige and Muni Long for best R&B song, which was set to be presented during the nighttime telecast at crypto.com Arena hosted by Trevor Noah.
It was even a tough day for Roots’ drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He lost out in best audiobook recording for his Music Is History. That Grammy went to Viola Davis for Finding Me, completing her EGOT, meaning she has now won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards.
But while Philly performers on the pop side might be disappointed with their Grammy haul, classical musicians cleaned up.
The Crossing won best choral performance for its Born album. It is the third Grammy win for the Philadelphia-based ensemble.
“For us, it’s just so exciting to see new music recognized like this,” said Crossing conductor Donald Nally. “Michael Gilbertson and Edie Hill’s music — we just love singing it, and it means more people will hear it, they’ll look it up.”
The title track piece, Gilbertson’s Born, was commissioned by Nally and his husband in memory of Nally’s mother. “So there’s something really special about the album which has the name of this piece that is a memorial for my mother and ends up winning a Grammy. She would be thrilled.”
Best orchestral performance went to the New York Youth Symphony’s recording of works by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery and Valerie Coleman. Coleman has worked extensively with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and it is her Umoja: Anthem of Unity, commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, that is featured on the album.
The Florence Price Piano Concerto in One Movement on the release is played by Michelle Cann, a Curtis Institute of Music piano professor.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Nézet-Séguin is conductor of the work that won for best opera recording: Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones with the Metropolitan Opera, which in 2021 became the first opera by a Black composer ever to be performed by the Met.
And he was pianist on the Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene release with soprano Renée Fleming, which won for classical solo vocal album.
After winning a Grammy last year for best orchestral performance, the Philadelphia Orchestra wasn’t nominated in the category this year. But a release on which it performed won in two other categories.
Time for Three — a string trio with Philly roots — won for Letters for the Future with conductor Xian Zhang in the classical instrumental solo category; and Kevin Puts’s Contact won best contemporary classical composition.
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