Aaron Jay Kernis

Among 2019 Classical Grammys, Violin Concerto of Aaron Jay Kernis walks away with two

Mark Gresham | 11 FEB 2019

The biggest names in the music industry gathered yesterday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the 61st Annual Grammy® Awards. Of the awards announced in 30 fields and 84 categories, a total of 10 were awarded in classical music.

Two of those awards were garnered by the Violin Concerto of composer Aaron Jay Kernis, for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

The CD, entitled James Newton Howard, Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concertos, recorded by violinist James Ehnes, conductor Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony, was released on the Onyx label (ONYX4189) in September 2018.

One of America’s most honored composers, Kernis has also been the recipient of a 1998 Pulitzer Prize in music, the 2002 Grawemeyer Award and the 2011 Nemmers Award. His music is published exclusively through G. Schirmer, New York. Read the Seattle Symphony’s interview with Aaron Jay Kernis in advance of the March 2017 premiere of his Violin Concerto.

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Worth noting is the preponderance of music by contemporary composers in the CDs awarded this year’s Grammys. In addition to Kernis, one quickly notices the names Laurie Anderson, Mason Bates, Kenneth Fuchs and Lansing McLoskey are represented in the majority of this year’s awarded recordings.

Below is the complete list of Grammy winners in the “classical” categoris:

  • Best Orchestral Performance
    Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11
    Andris Nelsons, conductor; Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Best Opera Recording
    Mason Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs
    Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edward Parks, Garrett Sorenson & Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • Best Choral Performance
    Lansing McLoskey: Zealot Canticles
    Donald Nally, conductor (Doris Hall-Gulati, Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko, Lorenzo Raval and Mandy Wolman; The Crossing)
  • Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
    Laurie Anderson: Landfall
    Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet
  • Best Classical Instrumental Solo
    Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concerto
    James Ehnes, violin; Ludovic Morlot, conductor; Seattle Symphony)
  • Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
    Songs of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’India & Landi
    Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo’s Fire, ensembles
  • Best Contemporary Classical Composition
    Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concerto
    Aaron Jay Kernis, composer (James Ehnes, violin; Ludovic Morlot, conductor; Seattle Symphony)
  • Best Classical Compendium
    Kenneth Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush
    JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • Producer of the Year, Classical
    Blanton Alspaugh
    (nine albums cited)
  • Best Engineered Album, Classical
    Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11
    Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)