The Nashville Symphony’s Naxos recording of French composer Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells) and Shéhérazade has just received a GRAMMY nomination in the category of Best Classical Album. Recorded in 2006 and 2007 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center and released earlier this year, the disc features conductor Alastair Willis leading the orchestra with mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne; members of the Nashville Symphony Chorus and the Chicago Symphony Chorus; and the Chattanooga Boys Choir. The remaining nominations in the Best Classical Album category this year include such other distinguished orchestras as the Boston Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Levine; the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas; and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop. The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards is scheduled to air January 31.
Planned and recorded during a time when the orchestra was between music directors, the success of this project was an especially extraordinary achievement. A key challenge, clearly, was finding the right conductor. Alan D. Valentine, President and CEO of the Nashville Symphony, said the choice of Alastair Willis was an inspired one: “We knew he was an excellent musician, and he was highly recommended to us by colleagues in the industry. This GRAMMY nomination proves that we made the right call,” Valentine said. “Such wonderful recognition only reaffirms the orchestra’s high level of artistic achievement as reflected in our previous GRAMMY wins and nominations. I’d like to congratulate our musicians, this organization and its supporters, and our friends at Naxos on this exciting news.”
Since 2000, the Nashville Symphony has enjoyed a wonderfully successful partnership with Naxos of America, the world’s leading classical music label. Nashville Symphony releases on Naxos have now received eight GRAMMY nominations. In 2008, the Symphony’s recording of Joan Tower’s Made in America, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, won three GRAMMY awards, including Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance.
Two other Nashville Symphony recordings on the Naxos label were also recognized yesterday in the GRAMMY nominations. Steve Epstein and Blanton Alspaugh were nominated individually in the category of Producer of the Year, Classical, for their body of work, which includes Nashville Symphony recordings of Corigliano and Menotti, along with the Ravel.