2020 Grammys: Classical Music Nominees and Winners

By Keegan Morris |

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classical grammy “Music’s biggest night” is right around the corner, and the classical music community has a lot to look forward to. Another Grammy subset that should feel proud is the Chicago classical community, which boasts numerous nominees across categories. While the awards below won’t be featured on the annual Grammy telecast, the winners in these categories will be announced before that telecast in the Premiere Ceremony, which can be live-streamed on grammy.com.

Below are the classical+ Grammy nominees (we’ve included the World Music Album category since Chicago’s Natalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet are among the nominees). During the ceremony, we’ll update the list to indicate the winners (which will be marked like this).


World MusicEngineered Album, Classical • Producer of the Year, Classical • Orchestral Performance • Opera Recording • Choral Performance • Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance • Classical Instrumental Solo • Classical Solo Vocal Album • Classical Compendium • Contemporary Classical Composition

World Music

Best World Music Album
  • Gece — Altin Gün
  • What Heat — Bokanté & Metropole Orkest; Jules Buckley
  • African Giant — Burna Boy
  • Fanm D’ayiti — Nathalie Joachim with Spektral Quartet
  • Celia — Angelique Kidjo

Production, Classical

Best Engineered Album, Classical
  • 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; John Kilgore, Judith Sherman & David Harrington, engineers/mixers; 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 & New York Philharmonic)
Producer Of The Year, Classical
  • Blanton Alspaugh
    • Artifacts – The Music Of Michael McGlynn (Charles Bruffy & Kansas City Chorale)
    • Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Fantaisie Sur La Tempête De Shakespeare (Andrew Davis & Toronto Symphony Orchestra)
    • Copland: Billy The Kid; Grohg (Leonard Slatkin & Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
    • Duruflé: Complete Choral Works (Robert Simpson & Houston Chamber Choir)
    • Glass: Symphony No. 5 (Julian Wachner, The Choir Of Trinity Wall Street, Trinity Youth Chorus, Downtown Voices & Novus NY)
    • Sander: The Divine Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom (Peter Jermihov & PaTRAM Institute Singers)
    • Smith, K.: Canticle (Craig Hella Johnson & Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble)
    • Visions Take Flight (Mei-Ann Chen & ROCO)
  • James Ginsburg
    • Project W – Works By Diverse Women Composers (Mei-Ann Chen & Chicago Sinfonietta)
    • Silenced Voices (Black Oak Ensemble)
    • 20th Century Harpsichord Concertos (Jory Vinikour, Scott Speck & Chicago Philharmonic)
    • Twentieth Century Oboe Sonatas (Alex Klein & Phillip Bush)
    • Winged Creatures & Other Works For Flute, Clarinet, And Orchestra (Anthony McGill, Demarre McGill, Allen Tinkham & Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra)
  • Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin
    • Bates: Children Of Adam; Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem (Steven Smith, Erin R. Freeman, Richmond Symphony & Chorus)
    • The Orchestral Organ (Jan Kraybill)
    • The Poetry Of Places (Nadia Shpachenko)
    • Rachmaninoff – Hermitage Piano Trio (Hermitage Piano Trio)
  • Morten Lindberg
    • Himmelborgen (Elisabeth Holte, Kåre Nordstoga & Uranienborg Vokalensemble)
    • Kleiberg: Do You Believe In Heather? (Various Artists)
    • Ljos (Fauna Vokalkvintett)
    • LUX (Anita Brevik, Trondheimsolistene & Nidarosdomens Jentekor)
    • Trachea (Tone Bianca Sparre Dahl & Schola Cantorum)
    • Veneliti (Håkon Daniel Nystedt & Oslo Kammerkor)
  • Dirk Sobotka
    • Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)


Best Orchestral Performance
  • Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • Copland: Billy The Kid; GrohgLeonard Slatkin, conductor (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
  • Norman: Sustain — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • Transatlantic — Louis Langrée, conductor (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)
  • Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, conductor (City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Kremerata Baltica)
Best Opera Recording
  • Benjamin: Lessons in Love & Violence — George Benjamin, conductor; Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Peter Hoare & Gyula Orendt; Raphaël Mouterde & James Whitbourn, producers (Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House)
  • Berg: Wozzeck — Marc Albrecht, conductor; Christopher Maltman & Eva-Maria Westbroek; 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 & Virginia Warnken; 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 & Edwin Vega; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Boston Children’s Chorus)
  • Wagner: LohengrinChristian Thielemann, conductor; Piotr Beczała, Anja Harteros, Tomasz Konieczny, Waltraud Meier & Georg Zeppenfeld; Eckhard Glauche, producer (Festspielorchester Bayreuth; Festspielchor Bayreuth)
Best Choral Performance
  • 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 & Daniel Shirley; PaTRAM Institute Singers)
  • Smith, K.: The Arc in The Sky — Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
  • 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
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
  • The Berlin Recital — Yuja Wang
  • Higdon: Harp ConcertoYolanda Kondonassis; Ward Stare, conductor (The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance SuiteNicola Benedetti; Cristian Măcelaru, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • The Orchestral Organ — Jan Kraybill
  • Torke: Sky, Concerto for Violin — Tessa Lark; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
  • The Edge Of Silence – Works For Voice By György Kurtág — Susan Narucki (Donald Berman, Curtis Macomber, Kathryn Schulmeister & Nicholas Tolle)
  • Himmelsmusik — Philippe Jaroussky & Céline 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
  • SongplayJoyce DiDonato; Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter & Craig Terry, accompanists (Steve Barnett & Lautaro Greco)
  • A Te, O Cara — Stephen Costello; Constantine Orbelian, conductor (Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra)
Best Classical Compendium
  • American Originals 1918 — John Morris Russell, conductor; Elaine Martone, producer
  • Leshnoff: Symphony No. 4 ‘Heichalos’; Guitar Concerto; StarburstGiancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • Meltzer: Songs and Structures — Paul Appleby & Natalia Katyukova; Silas Brown & Harold Meltzer, producers
  • The Poetry of Places — Nadia Shpachenko; Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin, producers
  • Saariaho: True Fire; Trans; Ciel D’hiver — Hannu Lintu, conductor; Laura Heikinheimo, producer
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
  • 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 Măcelaru & Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Norman: Sustain — Andrew Norman, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & 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 & New York Philharmonic)