SEATTLE SYMPHONY RECORDING WINS TWO GRAMMY AWARDS
AARON JAY KERNIS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO, CONDUCTED BY LUDOVIC MORLOT WITH SOLOIST JAMES EHNES, WON FOR BEST CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL SOLO AND BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
KERNIS: VIOLIN CONCERTO
BEST CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL SOLO
BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
SEATTLE, WA – The Recording Academy announced today that the Seattle Symphony’s recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto, performed by violinist James Ehnes and conducted by Ludovic Morlot, has won two Grammy Awards in the classical category. The Violin Concerto, which was commissioned and given its U.S. premiere by the Seattle Symphony, received Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony were also nominated in the category of Best Orchestral Performance for their live recording of Carl Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4, on the Seattle Symphony Media label.
“Congratulations to Ludovic Morlot, James Ehnes and Aaron Jay Kernis for this exceptional new Violin Concerto, which was enthusiastically received from the first moment our audiences heard it in Benaroya Hall,” commented Seattle Symphony President & CEO Krishna Thiagarajan. “Congratulations also to our musicians and our recording engineer Dmitriy Lipay for this immaculate recording. Commissioning new music is one of the most important things we do, and it’s incredibly heartening to see the excitement about this new concerto extend to a Grammy win.”
Thiagarajan added, “This year our orchestra was also nominated for Best Orchestral Recording for the first installment in our Nielsen cycle with our Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard, and we are incredibly proud to have all of these projects recognized by the Recording Academy.”
ABOUT AARON JAY KERNIS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO
Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto was jointly commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The Seattle Symphony, conducted by Ludovic Morlot, gave its U.S. premiere with violinist James Ehnes in March 2017 at Benaroya Hall.
“Lengthy, complex and assertive, the new concerto demands almost superhuman agility and stamina of Ehnes, the soloist for whom it was written, and he rose to the challenge.” – The Seattle Times review of the U.S. premiere
“the concerto demonstrated Kernis’ command of the complete orchestral palette” – The Seattle Times review of the U.S. premiere
“Entertaining, dazzling, smile-inducing, toe-tapping music...Kernis is the preeminent orchestral showman of the age.” – Gramophone
The commission by Aaron Jay Kernis was generously supported by Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs. James Ehnes’ performances were generously underwritten by Dana and Ned Laird through the Seattle Symphony’s Guest Artists Circle.
The Seattle Symphony’s Masterworks Season is sponsored by Delta Air Lines.
This performance was presented as part of the Seattle Symphony’s New Music WORKS initiative, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information on Aaron Jay Kernis:
Dworkin & Company
JAMES EHNES VIOLIN
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras. Ehnes is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and gave further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His recording of the Paganini Caprices earned him universal praise, with Diapason writing of the disc, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years’.” Ehnes’s recent recording of the Bartók Concerti was nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Walton, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
LUDOVIC MORLOT HARRIET OVERTON STIMSON MUSIC DIRECTOR
French conductor Ludovic Morlot has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 2011. During the 2018–2019 season they will continue in their incredible musical journey, focusing particularly on the music of Debussy, and works by composers he influenced or that influenced him. Among others, newly commissioned works this season are Caroline Shaw’s Piano Concerto and the U.S. premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds. The orchestra has many successful recordings on their label which have won three Grammy Awards.
Morlot was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie for three years (2012–14). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenůfa and Pelléas et Mélisande as well as concert performances in both Brussels and at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival.
Trained as a violinist, Morlot studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School (U.S.) with Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo. He continued his education in London at the Royal Academy of Music and then at the Royal College of Music as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. Morlot was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 in recognition of his significant contribution to music. He is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.
SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA
Launched in 2014, Seattle Symphony Media is the Seattle Symphony’s independent in-house record label. The Symphony has an extensive catalogue of nearly 150 recordings, which have brought forth five Grammy Awards, 26 Grammy Award nominations and two Emmy Awards throughout its history and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. Under the direction of Music Director Ludovic Morlot, the Symphony's in-house record label features both “core repertoire” and some of the eclectic and contemporary programming for which the Seattle Symphony has become recognized. The label includes both studio recordings and performances captured live in concert, allowing the organization an unprecedented breadth of repertoire choices.
All recordings are made in the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall and engineered by the Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Dmitriy Lipay. Using the Symphony’s own state-of-the-art in-house recording studio, recordings have been engineered to audiophile standards and aim to capture as realistically as possible the sound of the orchestra performing on stage with naturalistic imaging, depth of field and dynamic range. Distributed by Naxos of America, the recordings are available in both physical and digital formats from a variety of retailers. Digital content is available in stereo, “Mastered for iTunes,” 96k 24-bit high resolution and 5.1 surround sound.
The Seattle Symphony is grateful to Joan Watjen for her generous support of SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA CDs in memory of her husband Craig.
The Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Since September 2011 the Symphony has been led by Music Director Ludovic Morlot and in September 2019 Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard will become the next Music Director. The Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts and performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received five Grammy Awards, 26 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.