2017 Grammy Nominees Announced

The Recording Academy has announced the nominees for its 59th annual Grammy Awards and the list of luminaries includes many people who should be familiar to readers of NewMusicBox

Written By

Frank J. Oteri

Frank J. Oteri is an ASCAP-award winning composer and music journalist. Among his compositions are Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow for orchestra, the "performance oratorio" MACHUNAS, the 1/4-tone sax quartet Fair and Balanced?, and the 1/6-tone rock band suite Imagined Overtures. His compositions are represented by Black Tea Music. Oteri is the Vice President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and is Composer Advocate at New Music USA where he has been the Editor of its web magazine,, since its founding in 1999.

The Recording Academy has announced the nominees for its 59th annual Grammy Awards.  The list of luminaries includes many people who should be familiar to readers of NewMusicBox, and not just the nominees for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, although three of the five 2017 nominees have been the subject of NewMusicBox covers.

Jennifer Higdon, who has previously received this award in 2010 for her Percussion Concerto, has been nominated again this year for her opera Cold Mountain whose world premiere performance by the Santa Fe Opera was released on Pentatone Music. The disc has also been nominated for Best Opera Recording as has the Los Angeles Opera’s recording of The Ghost of Versailles by John Corigliano (also on Pentatone) which is additionally under consideration for Best Engineered Album, Classical (Mark Donahue and Fred Vogler, engineers).

Michael Daugherty, who received the BCCC nod in 2011 for his piano concerto Deus ex Machina, is a contender again with another concertante work, his Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra, which was released on an eponymous all-Daugherty disc by Naxos in a performance by Zuill Bailey with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero. Bailey is also up for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his performance of that work, as is Leila Josefowicz for her performance of Scheherazade.2 by John Adams on Nonesuch, and the entire Daugherty disc is additionally being considered for Best Classical Compendium as is Universal Music’s collection of two suites from Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen.

Christopher Theofanidis, who has yet to receive this award, is also under consideration for his Bassoon Concerto which was included alongside more standard fare by Mozart and Hummel on an Estonian Record Productions disc featuring bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann with Northwest Sinfonia led by Barry Jekowsky. The remaining two BCCC nominees are Mason Bates (for his orchestral work Anthology Of Fantastic Zoology recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Muti) and C. F. Kip Winger (for Conversations With Nijinsky recorded by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra under Martin West for VBI Classic Recordings). Other nominated classical recordings include Cedille’s collection of four Steve Reich works performed by Third Coast Percussion (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) and the New York Philharmonic’s all-Christopher Rouse disc (Best Orchestral Performance). Even among the nominees for Best Historical Album there’s an American composer, albeit not for his own music—Dust to Digital’s re-release of The Library of Congress collection of field recordings of traditional Moroccan music, which were made by late Paul Bowles, is in the running for Best Historical Album!

But that’s not all…

Fred Hersch has been nominated for two awards—Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album (for Sunday Night at The Vanguard) —and Ted Nash for three: Best instrumental Composition, Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella, and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album (for Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom). Also nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album is Real Enemies by Darcy James Argue.

A complete list of the 2017 nominees is available on the official Grammy site. The winners in each of the categories will be announced on February 12, 2017 (though most of the ones cited here probably won’t be mentioned on the nationally televised CBS broadcast).