ACO Recording Earns Four Grammy Nominations

The critically acclaimed recording Winter Morning Walks, featuring the Australian Chamber Orchestra and soprano Dawn Upshaw, has received four Grammy nominations.

The work, written by composer Maria Schneider, is nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Upshaw is nominated for Best Classical Vocal Solo, David Frost, Tim Martyn and Brian Losch are nominated for Best Engineered Album (Classical), and the album’s producer, David Frost, is nominated as classical producer of the year.

Winter Morning Walks will have its Australian premiere as part of the ACO’s first national concert tour of 2014, with performances in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Wollongong in February.

Winter Morning Walks was written by Schneider especially for Upshaw and the ACO and had its world premiere at the Ojai Festival in California in 2011. The album was recorded in New York in 2012 and released to widespread critical acclaim earlier this year. NPR called it “music to fall in love with the first time – then immediately want to hear again”, described it as “one of the most sheerly evocative and beautiful and memorable works for singer and orchestra that I have heard in years” and the Guardian said “Upshaw makes every word, every note, matter”.

Schneider based her nine- song cycle on the poems of American poet laureate Ted Kooser, who penned the short, spare verses after pre-dawn walks he took as he recovered from cancer treatment.

The double-disc album, which also features the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Upshaw performing Schneider’s Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories, was released through ArtistShare, a fan-funded crowdsourcing label that Schneider has used for previous releases. “ArtistShare has created the only fanfunding platform that allows me to share my world with my fans, as I go through the time-intensive, hairraising process of writing music and make a recording such as this,” Schneider said. “And musically, what a thrill to have worked with Dawn, these two great orchestras, these world-class engineers and producer. This has been a dream project.”

The ACO’s General Manager, Timothy Calnin, said: “The ACO is thrilled that our wonderful collaboration with Dawn Upshaw and Maria Schneider has been nominated for such a prestigious award. We were immensely proud to be co-commissioners of Winter Morning Walks and to give a series of performances in the US last year prior to making the recording with Dawn in New York. Australian audiences will have the opportunity to hear these ravishingly beautiful songs in February when Dawn tours the country for the Australian premiere of Winter Morning Walks.”

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 26 January, 2014.

Winter Morning Walks will be performed by the ACO, Dawn Upshaw, pianist Frank Kimbrough, clarinettist Scott Robinson and bass player Jay Anderson next year in Canberra (7 February), Sydney (9, 11, 12, 14 and 15 February), Brisbane (17 February), Perth (19 February, in associated with Perth International Arts Festival), Wollongong (21 February) and Melbourne (23 and 24 February).

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