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57th Grammy Nominations Recognize New England Conservatory Musicians


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Strong showing for NEC musicians in jazz category

A Far Cry chamber orchestra nominated for Kickstarter-funded project

New England Conservatory students, alumni, and faculty are included in nominations for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, announced on Friday. Winners will be announced at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 8, 2015.

Three of the five contenders in the “Best Jazz Instrumental Album" category come from the NEC faculty.

Pianist Fred Hersch '77, an alumnus who has been a presence on NEC's faculty since the 1980s, is recognized for Floating, recorded with his trio. The Floating track “You & the Night & the Music" is also nominated for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo." Hersch has had six previous Grammy nominations. He received NEC's Outstanding Alumni Award in 1990.

Drummer Billy Hart joins Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn, and Joey DeFrancesco on the Blue Note album Enjoy the View, which consists of originals by the core trio.

Also on Blue Note is pianist Jason Moran's All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller. Like the “In My Mind" project, which Moran brought to NEC in 2012, All Rise is an idiosyncratic reinterpretation of iconic work from the African-American cultural tradition.

NEC is also represented in three of the five groups nominated for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album."

Bijon Watson '86 Prep has been lead trumpet for The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra since 1999, when the group began a stretch as in-residence ensemble for the Hollywood Bowl Jazz series. Clayton-Hamilton is nominated for The L.A. Treasures Project.

Rufus Reid's band for Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project includes current D.M.A. student Michael Dease on trombone and John Clark '08 on horn.

OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer memorializes the influential valve trombonist and large-form composer who created the NEC Jazz Composers' Workshop Orchestra during his time on the NEC faculty. Bob Brookmeyer taught at NEC from 1997 to 2007. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, heard on this recording, includes trombonists John Mosca and Luis Bonilla; Mosca is a former member of the NEC faculty, and Bonilla teaches here currently.

Within the Classical categories, NEC is represented in “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance" by a nomination for Dreams & Prayers, from the chamber orchestra A Far Cry with clarinetist David Krakauer. Many of A Far Cry's founding members were educated and met each other here, and NEC's unconducted Chamber Orchestra was one of the sources of inspiration that helped the group to take shape. Click here for more on NEC's partnership with A Far Cry.

NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur “genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 98 students; 54 undergraduate and 44 graduate students from 14 countries.

Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program is “one of the most versatile in all of music education” (JazzEd). Now in its 42nd year, the program trains composer/performer/ improvisers to broaden their musical palettes and develop unique voices. It is unparalleled in its structured approach to ear training and its emphasis on singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity, and stylistic openness. Under Blake's inspired guidance for its first twenty-six years, the program grew considerably and has expanded its offerings under current chair Hankus Netsky and assistant chair Eden MacAdam-Somer. Alumni include Don Byron, John Medeski, Jacqueline Schwab, Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz; faculty include Carla Kihlstedt, Blake, Dominique Eade, and Anthony Coleman. “A thriving hub of musical exploration,” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe), the program currently has 53 undergrad and graduate students from 16 countries.

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