American composer Maria Schneider dominated the classical music categories at the 2014 Grammy Awards on Sunday for her album “Winter Morning Walks,” which features soprano Dawn Upshaw. The classical awards were handed out as part of the pre-show ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.
It was a good day for contemporary composers, who took home the bulk of the classical honors this year. Schneider’s “Winter Morning Walks” won three Grammys, including the prizes for classical composition and classical vocal solo album. The recording features Upshaw with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Schneider was on hand to accept her award and took the opportunity to lambast music piracy, calling it “legalized theft.”
“Winter Morning Walks,” which was performed at the Ojai Music Festival in 2011, is a series of songs based on poems by Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. The poems were inspired by Kooser’s battle with cancer and chemotherapy treatment.
British composer Thomas Ades was also present to accept the award for the Metropolitan Opera’s recording of his opera “The Tempest.” Ades thanked the Met’s general manager Peter Gelb for putting operas in movie theaters via the company’s Live in HD program.
Albums featuring music by Arvo Part and John Corigliano won Grammys in two categories -- choral album for Part’s “Adam’s Lament,” featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and other groups; and instrumental solo album for Corigliano’s “Conjurer: Concerto for Percussionist & String Orchestra,” featuring Evelyn Glennie and the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
The Minnesota Orchestra, which earlier this month emerged from a lengthy labor dispute with its musicians, won the Grammy for orchestral recording for its album of Sibelius' Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4, conducted by Osmo Vänskä. It beat out the L.A. Philharmonic for its recording of Lutoslawski’s Symphony No. 1, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth won the Grammy for chamber music or small ensemble performance. Veteran music producer David Frost won the award for classical producer of the year.