The Recording Academy has released the list of nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. When the awards are presented at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 10, 2013, there will be winners in a total of 81 categories (down from 101 last year). Determined by the approximately 13,000 voting members of the Recording Academy, the awards will honor music issued on commercial recordings released between October 1, 2011, and September 30, 2012.
Nominations for Best Contemporary Classical Composition include Steven Stucky’s oratorio August 4, 1964, Tania León’s ballet score Inura, and Stephen Hartke’s Meanwhile (which was composed for and performed by eighth blackbird), plus the Cello Concerto No. 2 by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara and Latvian composer Ugis Praulins’s The Nightingale. For Best Instrumental Composition, a separate category, nominees include Ansel Adams: America co-composed by the recently deceased Dave Brubeck and his son Chris Brubeck. Other nominees include Chick Corea, Chuck Loeb, Bill Holman, and Bill Cunliffe.
Corea has also been nominated in the categories Best Jazz Solo Improvisation and Best Jazz Instrumental Album, where two different albums of his (a disc of duets with vibraphonist Gary Burton and a trio disc with Eddie Gomez and the late Paul Motian) will compete against each other as well as with recordings by Ahmad Jamal, Pat Metheny, and Kenny Garrett. Nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, a category that was originally going to be discontinued but was subsequently reinstated, include albums by pianist Chano Domínguez, the Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band, and the Bobby Sanabria Big Band.
The eighth blackbird recording on which Hartke’s Meanwhile appears, which is also entitled Meanwhile and additionally includes works by Missy Mazzoli, Roshane Etezady, and Philip Glass, has been nominated for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance as well, where it will compete with another disc devoted exclusively to recently composed works, the debut disc of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (also nominated for Best Surround Sound Album). Also nominated in this category is a collection of four-hand piano music (including works by Harold Shapero and Leonard Bernstein) performed by the Zofo Duet, the Modern Mandolin Quartet’s album Americana (which features transcriptions of music by Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Philip Glass), and a disc by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players devoted to 20th-century French works. While the list of nominees for Best Orchestral Performance is, as per usual, dominated by standard repertoire fare, also included is a disc containing John Adams’s Harmonielehre and Short Ride In A Fast Machine performed by the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
The first-ever complete recording of maverick composer Harry Partch’s rambling diary with music, Bitter Music, was given a nod by the Grammys in the category Best Classical Compendium. (The other nominees are a Baroque collection and a disc of works by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.) In the “Producer of the Year, Classical” category, it is notable to see that all five of this year’s nominees have at least one recording in their portfolio that features contemporary American music.
Up for Best Historical Album is The Smile Sessions by The Beach Boys, an album which Frank J. Oteri examined at length for NewMusicBox last December. Journey was nominated for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, a first for a video game soundtrack. Composed by Austin Wintory, the game was reviewed by NewMusicBox in May.
A complete list of 2013 Grammy nominees is posted on the Recording Academy’s website.