For Immediate Release
The New York Youth Symphony’s history-making year continues with the orchestra’s nomination for Best Orchestral Performance for the 65th GRAMMY Awards. Nicholas Phan earns his fourth GRAMMY nomination for Stranger: Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly, in the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album category. Two esteemed producers, Elaine Martone and Judith Sherman, both of whom had key contributions to AVIE Records’ output this year, are nominated for Producer of the Year, Classical.
The New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) and Music Director Michael Repper made their debut recording at the height of the COVID pandemic, remarkably finding a way to come together during a time of separation. The album features four works by three African American women composers – Florence Price, Valerie Coleman and Jessie Montgomery. It includes the first recording by an American orchestra of Price’s Ethiopia's Shadow in America, and the premiere recording of the Piano Concerto in One Movement, with soloist Michelle Cann, in the composer’s newly-discovered original orchestration. Released in April 2022, the album debuted on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Albums chart at Number 2, and scaled to Number 1 the day after the orchestra’s 2021-22 season closing concert at Carnegie Hall in May.
“One of the most assured and exciting recording-debuts from a youth orchestra,” according to Presto Music, “there’s a wonderful sheen and polish to the sound, ensemble is nigh-on immaculate, and the young New Yorkers revel in Price’s juba rhythms and inventive scoring.”
On planning the recording, NYYS Executive Director Shauna Quill described how “this music and this venture brought us a rare sense of unity during a time of great separation.” The project brought the musicians together in multiple ways, even when they had to play while separated. Recorded in November 2020 at the DiMenna Center in New York City, each socially distanced section of the orchestra was recorded individually, sometimes playing to click track. The logistics were masterminded by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Judith Sherman, who remarks, “the whole orchestra was never in the same room at the same time, but you wouldn’t know by listening to the result.” With this album to her credit, Sherman is once again GRAMMY-nominated for Producer of the Year, Classical.
Stranger: Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly, earns Nicholas Phan his fourth GRAMMY nomination. Nicholas’ and Nico’s collaboration began with a commission, when Nicholas curated a series for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in 2020. The resulting song cycle, Stranger, finds common ground in the musicians’ reflections on identity and immigration, themes that resonate as much today as they have through the centuries. The world-premiere recording of Stranger compliments Nico’s Lorne Ys My Liking, a setting of the 19th Chester Mystery Play, and Impossible Things, a triptych of poems by the 20th-century Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. Nicholas’ collaborators in the recording studio were string quartet Brooklyn Rider, countertenor Reginald Mobley, pianist Lisa Kaplan, and Brooklyn-based orchestral collective The Knights led by brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen.

An Opera News Critic’s Choice, the magazine praised “Phan’s entrancing and enigmatic performance.” A “personal and deeply felt album,” BBC Music Magazine found Phan “on splendidly expressive form.”
Nicholas Phan’s previous GRAMMY nominations were his AVIE recordings Clairières: Songs by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, featuring works by the two exceptional 20th century French composer-sisters; and Gods & Monsters, an exploration of Austrian and German Romantic composers’ meditations on deities and other fantastical creatures. In 2010, Phan was nominated for his participation in the recording of Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella with conductor Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Multiple GRAMMY Award-winning producer Elaine Martone was at the controls for American pianist John Wilson’s solo debut recording, Upon Further Reflection. Taking its title from a touching three-movement piano suite by Wilson’s close collaborator and mentor Michael Tilson Thomas, the album’s Americana theme also features Aaron Copland’s Piano Sonata, and Earl Wild’s popular arrangements of iconic Gershwin songs. Martone is once again up for Producer of the Year, Classical.
AVIE artists previously nominated for GRAMMY Awards are Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Monica Huggett, The Dufay Collective, Antonio Meneses, Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang, and Susan Narucki. In 2016, Laura Karpman won a Grammy Award for her creation ASK YOUR MAMA, and in 2018, tenor Karim Sulayman, conductor Jeannette Sorrell and baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire took home the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album award for their recording Songs of Orpheus.
The 65th GRAMMY Awards will take place on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at the Arena in Los Angeles.
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