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Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Phil and UCLA student singers score Grammy wins

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the L.A. Philharmonic.
Gustavo Dudamel, leading the L.A. Phil through Ives symphonies at Disney Hall.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic won the Grammy for orchestral performance Sunday, and a team that includes the UCLA student singers took home the award for choral performance for work by composer and UCLA professor Richard Danielpour.

The L.A. Phil’s Grammy was for “Ives: Complete Symphonies,” which brought to life the symphonies of American composer Charles Ives — performances that Times music critic Mark Swed called “a milestone ... for both the conductor and the startlingly great orchestra.”

Competition in the category included the San Francisco Symphony (nominated with outgoing Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Copland’s Third Symphony), the Oregon Symphony, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

This is the third Grammy for Dudamel and the L.A. Phil. The first was in 2012 for a recording of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony. The second was last year for composer Andrew Norman’s “Sustain.”

Live updates of the 2021 Grammy Awards winners list: 83 categories including album, song, record and best new artist.

Danielpour’s “The Passion of Yeshua” won for the choral performance by the UCLA Chamber Singers alongside the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. Buffalo’s JoAnn Falletta served as conductor, and UCLA’s James K. Bass (director of choral studies at the Herb Alpert School of Music) and Buffalo’s Adam Luebke served as chorus masters. Opera singers J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann and Matthew Worth also contributed for the win.

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“The Passion of Yeshua” was also up for contemporary classical composition and engineered classical album. “Ives: Complete Symphonies” was added competition in the latter category, but neither L.A. team took the win, which went to “Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar,’” recorded by Chicago Symphony Orchestra audio engineer Charlie Post.

A year ago Michael Michetti, one of L.A. theater’s most accomplished directors, was about to open the Stephen Sondheim musical “Passion” at Boston Court Pasadena. Then the pandemic hit.


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