SMTD students, faculty, staff, and alumni celebrated Associate Professor Tim McAllister on Sunday, February 8 when it was announced that John Adams’s album City Noir (Nonesuch) won the GRAMMY Award for Best Orchestral Performance for conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony. McAllister is the alto saxophone soloist on both the album’s title work and its second piece, Adams's Saxophone Concerto, which was written for and dedicated to McAllister. Also performing on the album is David Halen, SLS concertmaster and professor of violin at SMTD.
Tim McAllister (BM '95, MM '97, DMA '02) joined the SMTD faculty last fall, filling the spot vacated by retiring professor Donald Sinta, McAllister's former teacher and mentor. McAllister has been described by the New York Times as "one of the foremost saxophonists of his generation." Since the world premiere of Adams’s Saxophone Concerto in 2013, the work has been celebrated internationally, with reviewers hailing McAllister's performance as "astonishing," "sizzling," "amazing," "gorgeous" and "outstanding," among many other superlatives.
Also receiving a GRAMMY Award was SMTD alumnus Richard Perry (BM ’64), a legendary record producer, who was presented with the GRAMMY's Trustee Award, recognizing outstanding artistic contributions in areas other than performance.
One of the most successful producers in music history, Perry has produced classic albums and singles with a who’s who of contemporary pop, rock, R&B, blues, and jazz artists including Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Pointer Sisters, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Harry Nilsson, Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson, Art Garfunkel, The Temptations, Leo Sayer, DeBarge, Pattie LaBelle, Manhattan Transfer, Neil Diamond, Randy Travis, Martha Reeves, Captain Beefheart, Jeffrey Osborne, Fats Domino, and Ella Fitzgerald. He has had albums in the top 10 in every decade since the 1960s and was named Producer of the Year multiple times by Billboard Magazine.
SMTD had two other connections to GRAMMY winners in 2015: T.J. Troy (BM '99, percussion) is featured on the Best Classical Compendium album, Harry Partch: Plectra & Percussion Dances (Bridge Records) and Ashley Blanchet (BFA ’09, musical theatre) sings on the original cast recording of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Ghostlight/Razor & Tie), which won the GRAMMY for Best Musical Theater Album.
SMTD students and faculty were also well represented at the GRAMMY Awards through the nomination for Best Opera Recording for the album L'Orestie d'Eschyle (Oresteia of Aeschylus) by Darius Milhaud. Released on the Naxos label in September, the performance, conducted by Professor Kenneth Kiesler, features the University Symphony Orchestra and a 320-voice choir comprising the UMS Choral Union and SMTD's Chamber Choir and Orpheus Singers (directed by Professor Jerry Blackstone and Assistant Professor Eugene Rogers), the SMTD Percussion Ensemble, and nine professional vocal soloists. The recording engineer was Jason Corey, associate professor and chair of the Department of Performing Arts Technology.