The nominations for the 60th annual Grammy Awards are in, and a contemporary classical album featuring the Kansas City Symphony has received nominations for two different Grammy Awards: Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The album is a recording of three different pieces by Massachusetts-based composer Adam Schoenberg. It includes his 2012 composition Picture Studies, 2011’s American Symphony and his first major composition Finding Rothko.
Released on January 20, 2017, the album features the conducting talents of Michael Stern, the music director and lead conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. The symphony has worked closely with Schoenberg since the beginning of his career. His Picture Studios symphony was a joint commission of the Kansas City Symphony and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and was intended to be an updated version of Modest Mussorgsky’s 1874 orchestral suite Pictures at an Exhibition. The Kansas City Symphony also commissioned Schoenberg’s earlier American Symphony. Written in the aftermath of the 2008 American presidential election, the symphony draws on various influences from Aaron Copland’s Symphony #3 to John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”. The Kansas City Symphony premiered American Symphony in March 2011 at Lyric Theatre.
The album was recorded in June 2014 at Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the new home of the Kansas City Symphony. It was produced and edited by David Frost who has won 15 Grammy Awards for his work, including one award last year for Producer of the Year, Classical. He was nominated for another Grammy award this year in the same category. If the album takes home both Grammys this year, it will earn an award for engineers Keith O. Johnson and Sean Royce Martin, as well as garner Adam Schoenberg an award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.