February 13, 2017

Bienen School alumni win Grammys

Third Coast Percussion

Third Coast Percussion, a quartet of Bienen School alumni (from left) Sean Connors (G06), David Skidmore (05), Robert Dillon (02), and Peter Martin (G04, G11), won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for “Steve Reich” (Cedille Records).

The album is an 80th birthday salute to composer Steve Reich, who recently visited the Bienen School for his first residency as winner of the 2016 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition.

This was Third Coast’s first Grammy award and nomination, and the first time a percussion ensemble has won a Grammy in a chamber music category.

Third Coast Percussion also performed music from their Grammy-winning album at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony on Sunday, February 12. The event, held prior to the 59th Grammy Awards telecast, was streamed live and is available on YouTube. (See below)


Giancarlo Guerrero

Giancarlo Guerrero (G92), music director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, won two Grammys – Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Classical Compendium – for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Michael Daugherty’s “Tales of Hemingway” (Naxos).

“Tales of Hemingway” also won Best Contemporary Classical Composition, a prize awarded solely to the composer.

Guerrero has received five Grammy Awards to date, having previously taking the top prize in Best Classical Compendium (2016), Best Classical Instrumental Solo (2012) and Best Orchestral Performance (2011).

Several other Bienen School alumni and faculty were nominated for 2017 Grammy Awards:

Donald Nally, John W. Beattie Chair of Music at the Bienen School and conductor of The Crossing, received a nomination for Best Choral Performance with The Crossing for Thomas Lloyd's “Bonhoeffer” (Albany Records). The recording also features Thomas Mesa (G14) on cello.

Desirée Ruhstrat, Bienen School lecturer of violin, was nominated with the Lincoln Trio for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for “Trios From Our Homelands” (Cedille Records).

Spektral Quartet, whose members include Clara Lyon, Maeve Espy Feinberg, and alumni Doyle Armbrust (00) and Russell Rolen (G11), received a nomination for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for “Serious Business” (Sono Luminus).

Recording engineer Brad Michel (81) received a nomination for Best Surround Sound Album, surround recording and surround mastering, for Craig Hella Johnson’s “Considering Matthew Shepard” (Harmonia Mundi), performed by Conspirare. 

Photos by Barry Brechesien and Chad Driver