Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grammy nominations include Eastman contributions

Courtesy of the Recording Academy® / Getty Images © 2020

The works of alumni or faculty members from the Eastman School of Music are scattered across eight categories in the 63rd Grammy Awards announced this week.

The Grammy ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. Jan. 31. It will be broadcast on CBS.

Among the Eastman associations to be found:

Best Engineered Album, Classical: Hynes:"Fields," Third Coast Percussion, mastering engineers, featuring Sean Connors, Eastman class of 2004.

Producer of the Year, Classical: Jesse Lewis, for Gunn: "The Ascendant" with performances by the vocal project Roomful of Teeth, featuring Sarah Brailey, Eastman class of 2004; John T. Ward, Eastman class of 2010; Martha Cluver, Eastman class of 2003; and Eric Dudley, Eastman class of 2001.

The category also includes a nomination for Blanton Alspaugh, whose Smyth: "The Prison," includes a performance by the soprano Brailey. Lewis’ nomination for classical producer on Hynes: "Fields" also includes work with the Eastman-infused Third Coast Percussion. Elaine Martone, nominated for classical producer of the year for "Bound For The Promised Land," credits include Jessye Norman, who was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Eastman in 2013.

Best Choral Performance, Classical included a nomination forMoravec: "Sanctuary Road" with baritone Malcolm J. Merriweather, Eastman class of 2010.

Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance, Classical saw nominations for "Contemporary Voices" with Pacifica Quartet featuring Brandon Vamos, Eastman class of 1992; and Hynes: "Fields," the third category that included work by Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion.

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album nominations included two Eastman alumni. "A Lad’s Love," featuring tenor Brian Giebler, Eastman class of 2010; and Smyth: "The Prison" featuring Brailey, the third Grammy nomination featuring her voice.

Credit Provided
Maria Schneider.

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: John Hollenbeck, Eastman class of 1990, with Eastman associate professor of jazz studies & contemporary media Gary Versace for "Songs You Like A Lot." Also nominated is Maria Schneider, Eastman class of 1985, for the technology-apocalyptic album "Data Lords," with her orchestra featuring the pianist Versace.

Best Instrumental Composition includes a nomination for Schneider’s piece “Sputnik.”

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical sees Grammy veteran Bob Ludwig, Eastman class of 1966, back as mastering engineer for Devon Gilfillian’s soul-rock album "Black Hole Rainbow."

The Eastman School of Music also compiled a list of some of the alumni who played in orchestras on Grammy-nominated albums. That includes the Boston, Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco, Albany, and Nashville symphonies, as well as the Buffalo Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, St. Luke’s, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and the Iceland Symphony.

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.