Classical & Jazz

'Hamilton' fever fires up musicals win, Stephen Paulus and Boston Symphony get classical Grammys

David Ng
Contact ReporterLos Angeles Times

"Hamilton" fever took hold at the Grammy Awards on Monday when cast members of the hip-hop Broadway phenomenon performed live on the CBS broadcast and took home the award for musical theater album.

The performance marked a rare instance in which a Broadway musical was allowed to occupy precious airtime at the Grammys. In past years, Grammy producers have relegated the musical category to the pre-telecast ceremony held just before the main event.

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Taking the stage from the musical's home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote "Hamilton," joined the ensemble cast to perform the show's opening sequence.

Miranda later accepted the Grammy, delivering a rap-like list of thank-yous.

WATCH Lin-Manuel Miranda deliver his 'inimitable' Grammys speech>>

Since opening last year at the Public Theater and then transferring to Broadway, "Hamilton" has been one of the hottest theater tickets in New York, drawing a long list of celebrities to its audience. The musical uses hip-hop and rap to recount the life story of Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury. A multiracial cast of actors portrays the show's historical characters, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr and King George III.

The national tour year will come to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood starting in August 2017.

"Hamilton" beat out cast albums from "Fun Home," "An American in Paris," "The King and I" and "Something Rotten."

In the classical music field, Stephen Paulus, the prolific Minnesota composer who died in 2014, won Grammys in two categories, including the award for contemporary composition for his choral piece "Prayers and Remembrances," which appears in the album "Far in the Heavens."

The somber, hymn-like work in multiple movements debuted in 2011 as a commission to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The album was recorded by Arizona's True Concord Voices & Orchestra.

The composer's widow, Patricia, and her sons, accepted the award Monday afternoon at the Grammy pre-telecast ceremony.

Paulus was also recognized for his album "Three Places of Enlightenment; Veil Of Tears & Grand Concerto," recorded by the Nashville Symphony, which won for the classical compendium category.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra took home the top orchestral Grammy for its album "Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow," which features the Russian composer's Symphony No. 10, conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Seiji Ozawa won a Grammy in the opera category for the album of Ravel's "L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges" and "Shéhérazade," from Japan's Saito Kinen Orchestra.

The award for choral performance went to the Kansas City Chorale and Phoenix Chorale's recording of Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil."

Other classical winners included mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for classical solo vocal album ("Joyce & Tony: Live From Wigmore Hall") and violinist Augustin Hadelich for classical instrumental solo (for the Seattle Symphony's album of music by Henri Dutilleux).

The new music group eighth blackbird added to its Grammy collection, winning its fourth award in the category of chamber music or small ensemble performance for its album "Filament," which spotlights music by Bryce Dessner, as well as Nico Muhly, Son Lux and Philip Glass.

david.ng@latimes.com

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