Category Archives: Classical

Joyce DiDonato Voted into Gramophone Hall of Fame

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Joyce DiDonato, the Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano, was recently voted into Gramophone magazine’s Hall of Fame.

As part of the British magazine’s 90th anniversary celebration, the Hall of Fame honors artists, producers, engineers and record executives, as voted for by Gramophone’s readers and visitors to its website.

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DiDonato and Metheny Win Grammys

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Joyce DiDonato giving her acceptance speech for Best Classical Vocal Solo at yesterday's Grammy Awards.

KC natives Joyce DiDonato and Pat Metheny won Grammy awards Sunday afternoon. The awards were part of the Grammy Pre-Telecast, available on the web at grammy.com.

DiDonato won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo for her album Diva, Divo.

Metheny won his 19th Grammy (by my count, not confirmed) for his album “What’s It All About,” in the Best New Age Album category. This also is the fourth genre in which he’s won an award. The bulk of Metheny’s awards have been for jazz, but in addition to New Age, he’s won Grammys in rock and Americana.

Grammy Preview: Joyce DiDonato to Perform on Pre-Telecast

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Joyce DiDonato

The Grammy Awards have announced that KC resident Joyce DiDonato will perform on the Pre-Telecast Ceremony Sunday afternoon, which will stream live at 3 p.m. Central time at grammy.com/live and cbs.com.

A mezzo-soprano, DiDonato grew up in the KC suburb of Prairie Village, Kan. and still lives in the area. She has performed in recital and in operas around the world, and has been called “perhaps the most potent female singer of her generation” by the New Yorker.

At this year’s Grammys, DiDonato was nominated for Best Classical Vocal Solo for the album Diva, Divo, her recording with Orchestre De L’Opéra National De Lyon, conducted by Kazushi Ono.

In this clip, she discusses the album, which features a mix of female and male roles from a variety of operas.

KC Ties in Jazz, Opera Grammy Nominations

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Nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, and four nominees have ties to Kansas City.

Pat Metheny’s What’s It All About was nominated for Best New Age Album. Metheny grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb in the southeast part of the Kansas City area.

Karrin Allyson

Vocalist Karrin Allyson was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for ‘Round Midnight. Allyson was born in Great Bend, Kan., and lived in Kansas City during the 1990s.

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2011 Grammy Talley: One Win, One Electrifying Performance

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From a local perspective, there were two big winners at last night’s Grammy ceremony.

Kansas City Symphony
The Kansas City Symphony’s recording of Britten’s Orchestra won for Best Surround Sound Album, an award the symphony shared with Keith O. Johnson, the mix and mastering engineer, and David Frost, the album’s producer.

Although  the symphony was not the direct winner, Frost also was named Classical Producer of the Year, for his work on Britten’s Orchestra and six other recordings.

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The Clicklist: I Read So You Don’t Have To

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Stuff I’ve been reading and can recommend:

KCK Native Janelle Monáe was nominated for two R&B Grammies.

  • The Kansas City Star ran a short article Sunday noting that the Kansas City Symphony and Janelle Monáe, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., were nominated for Grammy Awards. I would add that KC-born Burt Bacharach was nominated for Best Musical Show Album for the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises.
  • In other Broadway news, Scottsboro Boys will close Sunday after 78 performances and an estimated loss of $5 million. KC native John Kander composed the score. There is talk of a film adaptation, according to Playbill.
  • Last Sunday’s Kansas City Star Magazine had a nice feature on Walter Bryant, who plays with some great people around town and is a major composer for advertising.
  • I love stories about sidemen and people who work behind the scenes. KCjazzlark has a good one about Buster Smith, a sax player who tutored Charlie Parker and played in some important KC bands in the 1930s.
  • Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. The York Times has an interesting story on the Dakota, the NYC co-op where Lennon lived the last years of his life.
  • One of the themes at the jazz blog Happy in a Bag is that jazz musicians need to find new ways to promote and market themselves. It’s great advice for all musicians, not just jazzers. A report on a “jazz hang” that occurred Sunday is full of great insights, per usual.
  • I’m not a gearhead, so this hasn’t been on my radar. JHS Pedals modifies existing pedals and builds their own. Over at the Pitch, the Wayward Blog has an item on JHS Music, their retail store that will open Friday in Grandview.

Today in KC’s Music History: Virgil Thomson Born

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Virgil Thomson, the composer and music critic who collaborated with Gertrude Stein and won the Pulitzer Prize for composition, was born in Kansas City on Nov. 25, 1896.

Thomson helped develop the “American sound” in classical music in the 1920s and 30s, but he also composed for theater and film. He also was a music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune from the late 1930s to early 1950s.

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Introducing KC Music Tube

Writing about music is fine, but to experience the true essence of music, you need to listen to it or watch a performance. So I’ve started a new feature that I’m really excited about: KC Music Tube.

KC Music Tube collects the videos of KC music artists that are scattered all over the Internet (YouTube mostly). With video, you can see (and hear) what makes them so special.

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What Good Ever Happened Here?

I used to think that, musically speaking, nothing good happened in this town. There was that jazz history 70 or 80 years ago, but not much else. But for the past year, I’ve been researching KC’s music history for a documentary. I discovered how wrong I was.

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