The 2018 GRAMMY nominations were announced on November 28 and several University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance alumni were either nominated or are featured performers on nominated albums.
The strongest SMTD representation was in the category of “Musical Theater Album,” with all three recordings having SMTD alumni involved. They include Ian Eisendrath (BM ’03, conducting), music supervisor and arranger for Come From Away (The Musical Company); Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (BFA ’06, musical theatre), the lyricists/composers of Dear Evan Hansen, and the producers of the origianl cast album (Atlantic); and Gavin Creel (BFA ’98, musical theatre), who plays a leading role in Hello, Dolly! and is featured on the new cast recording.
Pasek and Paul are also nominated for the song “City of Stars” from the film La La Land in the category of “Song Written for Visual Media.” They were the lyricists for the song, with composer Justin Hurwitz. In addition, the La La Land album (Interscope) is nominated for “Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media” and “Score Soundtrack for Visual Media” and Hurwitz is nominated as arranger for the La La Land song “Another Day of Sun,” for which Pasek and Paul also wrote the lyrics.
In the category of “Classical Solo Album,” tenor Nicholas Phan (BM ’01, voice) is nominated for Gods & Monsters (Avie Records) with his accompanist Myra Huang. The work reflects Phan’s life-long fascination with myths and legend and features Lieder by the great Romantic composers of the Germanic tradition including Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Mendlessohn, Schubert, Schumann and Wolf.
And, finally, in the category of “Choral Performance,” the PRISM Quartet–comprising former students of SMTD saxophone Emeritus Professor Donald Sinta–is nominated with the mixed choir The Crossing, which includes alumna and current SMTD doctoral student in voice, Kelly Bixby (BM ’06). The ensembles are nominated for Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century (ECM), conducted by Donald Nally.
A rare recording of works by Bryars, an English composer and double bassist, the album features compositions set to the words by 17th-century English mystic Thomas Traherne. The PRISM Quartet includes Matthew Levy (BM ’87, MM ’88), Zachary Shemon (BM ’07, MM ’09), Taimur Sullivan, and Timothy McAllister (BM ’95, MM ’97, DMA ’02), who is Sinta’s successor as professor of saxophone at SMTD. McAllister previously won a 2015 GRAMMY Award (Best Orchestral Performance) with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as soloist on the album John Adams: City Noir/Saxophone Concerto. Joining PRISM on the recording is another saxophone alumnus and former Sinta student, Robert Young (MM ’08, DMA ’10).
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday, January 28, 2018. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at a new time: 7:30-11 p.m. ET and 4:30-8 p.m.