Grammy nominations in classical go to the L.A. Phil, Gustavo Dudamel and ‘Sustain’

Composer Andrew Norman takes his bow at the 2018 L.A. Phil performance of "Sustain." The recording of the work received two Grammy nominations Wednesday.
(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

The Times called Andrew Norman’s “Sustain” the best piece of new music in 2018, and on Wednesday the Grammy Awards nominators hinted they just might agree.

“Sustain” earned Grammy nominations in two key categories: contemporary classical composition, where composer Norman will square off against Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw and Wynton Marsalis, among others; and orchestral performance, where the nomination went to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who performed “Sustain” as part of the orchestra’s landmark centennial season.

In reviewing that live premiere, Times critic Mark Swed called Norman’s piece a breakthrough for the composer, “a near out of body acoustic experience.” When the L.A. Phil performed “Sustain” again this month, Swed noted how well the piece held up, “a riot of intersecting patterns that look like ant colonies on the move or seeds scattering in the wind.”


Los Angeles artists popped up elsewhere in the Grammys’ classical nominations. In the opera recording category, L.A. director Yuval Sharon’s Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” earned a nomination for conductor Christian Thielemann, producer Eckhard Glauche and soloists Piotr Beczala, Anja Harteros, Tomasz Konieczny, Waltraud Meier and Georg Zeppenfeld.

In the category of chamber music and small ensemble performance, L.A. new music guru Christopher Rountree and his ensemble Wild Up earned a nomination for their recording of Christopher Cerrone’s “The Pieces That Fall to the Earth.”

The full list of Grammy nominations in classical categories:

Orchestral performance

Award to the conductor and orchestra.

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9. Manfred Honeck, conductor. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Copland: Billy the Kid; Grohg. Leonard Slatkin, conductor. Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Norman: Sustain. Gustavo Dudamel, conductor. Los Angeles Philharmonic

Transatlantic. Louis Langrée, conductor. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21. Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, conductor. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Kremerata Baltica

Opera recording

Award to the conductor, album producers and principal soloists

Benjamin: Lessons in Love & Violence. George Benjamin, conductor. Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Peter Hoare and Gyula Orendt, soloists. James Whitbourn, producer. Orchestra of the Royal Opera House


Berg: Wozzeck. Marc Albrecht, conductor. Christopher Maltman and Eva-Maria Westbroek, soloists. François Roussillon, producer. Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra; Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Charpentier: Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles. Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors. Jesse Blumberg, Teresa Wakim and Virginia Warnken, soloists. Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer. Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble

Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox. Gil Rose, conductor. John Brancy, Andrew Craig Brown, Gabriel Preisser, Krista River and Edwin Vega, soloists. Gil Rose, producer. Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Boston Children’s Chorus

Wagner: Lohengrin. Christian Thielemann, conductor. Piotr Beczała, Anja Harteros, Tomasz Konieczny, Waltraud Meier and Georg Zeppenfeld, soloists. Eckhard Glauche, producer. Festspielorchester Bayreuth. Festspielchor Bayreuth

Choral performance

Award to the conductor and to the choral director and/or chorus master where applicable and to the choral organization/ensemble.

Boyle: Voyages. Donald Nally, conductor. The Crossing

Duruflé: Complete Choral Works. Robert Simpson, conductor. Ken Cowan; Houston Chamber Choir

The Hope of Loving. Craig Hella Johnson, conductor. Conspirare

Sander: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Peter Jermihov, conductor. Evan Bravos, Vadim Gan, Kevin Keys, Glenn Miller and Daniel Shirley. PaTRAM Institute Singers


Smith, K.: The Arc in the Sky. Donald Nally, conductor. The Crossing

Chamber music/small ensemble performance

For new recordings of works by ensembles of 24 or fewer members, not including the conductor. One award to the ensemble and one award to the conductor, if applicable.

Cerrone: The Pieces That Fall to Earth. Christopher Rountree & Wild Up

Freedom & Faith. PUBLIQuartet

Perpetulum. Third Coast Percussion

Rachmaninoff - Hermitage Piano Trio. Hermitage Piano Trio

Shaw: Orange. Attacca Quartet

Classical instrumental solo

Award to the instrumental soloists and to the conductor when applicable.

The Berlin Recital. Yuja Wang

Higdon: Harp Concerto. Yolanda Kondonassis. Ward Stare, conductor. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite. Nicola Benedetti. Cristian Macelaru, conductor. Philadelphia Orchestra

The Orchestral Organ. Jan Kraybill

Torke: Sky, Concerto for Violin. Tessa Lark. David Alan Miller, conductor. Albany Symphony

Classical solo vocal album

Award to vocalists, collaborative artists, producers, recording engineers/mixers with 51% or more playing time of new material

The Edge of Silence - Works for Voice by Gyorgy Kurtag. Susan Narucki. Donald Berman, Curtis Macomber, Kathryn Schulmeister and Nicholas Tolle

Himmelsmusik. Philippe Jaroussky and Celine Scheen. Christina Pluhar, conductor. L’Arpeggiata, ensemble. Jesús Rodil & Dingle Yandell

Schumann: Liederkreis Op. 24, Kerner-Lieder Op. 35. Matthias Goerne. Leif Ove Andsnes, accompanist

Songplay. Joyce DiDonato. Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter and Craig Terry, accompanists. Steve Barnett and Lautaro Greco

A Te, O Cara. Stephen Costello. Constantine Orbelian, conductor. Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra

Classical compendium

Award to the artists and to the album producers and engineers of over 51% playing time of the album, if other than the artist.


American Originals 1918. John Morris Russell, conductor. Elaine Martone, producer

Leshnoff: Symphony No. 4 ‘Heichalos’; Guitar Concerto; Starburst. Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor. Tim Handley, producer

Meltzer: Songs and Structures. Paul Appleby and Natalia Katyukova. Silas Brown and Harold Meltzer, producers

The Poetry of Places. Nadia Shpachenko. Marina A. Ledin and Victor Ledin, producers

Saariaho: True Fire; Trans; Ciel d’Hiver. Hannu Lintu, conductor. Laura Heikinheimo, producer

Contemporary classical composition

A composer’s award for work composed within the last 25 years and released for the first time. Award to the librettist, if applicable.

Bermel: Migration Series For Jazz Ensemble & Orchestra. Derek Bermel, composer. Derek Bermel, Ted Nash, David Alan Miller, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra & Albany Symphony Orchestra

Higdon: Harp Concerto. Jennifer Higdon, composer. Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Marsalis: Violin Concerto In D Major. Wynton Marsalis, composer. Nicola Benedetti, Cristian Macelaru & Philadelphia Orchestra

Norman: Sustain. Andrew Norman, composer. Gustavo Dudamel and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Shaw: Orange. Caroline Shaw, composer. Attacca Quartet

Wolfe: Fire in My Mouth. Julia Wolfe, composer. Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J. Núñez, Donald Nally, the Crossing, Young People’s Chorus of NY City and New York Philharmonic

Best engineered album, classical

An Engineer’s Award. (Artists in parentheses.)

Aequa - Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Daniel Shores, engineer. Daniel Shores, mastering engineer (International Contemporary Ensemble)


Bruckner: Symphony No. 9. Mark Donahue, engineer. Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)

Rachmaninoff - Hermitage Piano Trio. Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers. Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Hermitage Piano Trio)

Riley: Sun Rings. Leslie Ann Jones, engineer; Robert C. Ludwig, mastering engineer (Kronos Quartet)

Wolfe: Fire in My Mouth. Bob Hanlon & Lawrence Rock, engineers. Ian Good & Lawrence Rock, mastering engineers (Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J. Núñez, Donald Nally, the Crossing, Young People’s Chorus of NY City and New York Philharmonic)

Producer of the Year, Classical

Blanton Alspaugh

James Ginsburg

Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin


Morten Lindberg

Dirk Sobotka