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SMTD Alumni nominated for 2019 Grammy Awards

Once again, alumni of University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance have been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards.

Veteran Grammy winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (both BFA ’06, musical theatre) return to the nominees’ list for 2019 in two categories: Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the film The Greatest Showman and Best Song Written for Visual Media for that film’s hit, “This is Me.” The songwriting duo previously won the Best Musical Theatre Album Grammy for the Dean Evan Hansen cast recording.


Photo credit: Corinna Van Hamlin

Jeremy Kittel (BM ’05, violin) received his second Grammy nomination, for Best Instrumental Composition for his work Chrysalis, which appears on Whorls, his first album with his band Kittel & Co. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s bluegrass chart.


Timothy McAllister (BM ’95, MM ’97, DMA ’02, saxophone), current SMTD professor of saxophone, is featured on two albums that were nominated in the coveted Best Classical Compendium category: the NAXOS album Spirtualist, featuring four concertos by Kenneth Fuchs including his Saxophone Concerto Rush, performed by McAllister with the London Symphony Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta and also featuring alumnus D.J. Sparr (DMA ’03, MM ’00, composition), on electric guitar; and the Berlin Philharmonic’s John Adams Edition, led by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring McAllister as saxophone soloist in Adams’s City Noir. The first recording of this work, also with McAllister, was by the St. Louis Symphony. That album, titled City Noir, won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance in 2016 and also featured McAllister on Adams’s Saxophone Concerto, which was written for him. With the PRISM Quartet, McAllister also appeared on last year’s Grammy-winning Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century, with the mixed choir The Crossing.


SMTD musical theatre alumni also appear on albums nominated for Best Musical Theatre Album. They include Etai Benson (BFA’09), as Papi in The Band’s Visit; Alexander Gemignani (BFA ’01), as Enoch Snow in Carousel; and Bre Jackson (BFA ’12) and Conor Ryan (BFA ’13), ensemble members in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.


The 61st Annual Grammy Awards take place on Sunday, February 10, with the televised portion airing live on CBS at 8 pm EST.