In “The Grammy that nobody knows,” Classical Beat’s Anne Midgette recently shared her worries about this year’s seemingly random classical music choices nominated to receive a Grammy.
Her description of a watered-down selection process for Grammy nominations, resulting in an artificially inflated voting power of even the smallest majorities, casts a gloomy verdict on the music industry’s ability to pass judgment. She also talks about an increasing disparity in an ever-growing sea of diversity:
“The result is a field in which tastes are so individual, and there are so many things to choose from, that there is no longer any wide consensus about what is best. It is striking how little overlap there is between the classical Grammy nominations and some of the best-of-2010 lists that have been coming out in places like the New York Times and NPR.”
Midgette is also concerned about a dissipation of traditional norms within the record labels’ marketplace, influencing tangible sales, as well as the reviews and critique sector along with it.
But no matter what the greater implications for the music industry might be, the mood at Le Poisson Rouge’s Grammy Nomination Celebration in Lower Manhattan on December 16, 2010, was at an all-time high.
The young Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital had been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra). A beaming Avital explained that in this category the trophy is given to both the performing soloist and the orchestra’s conductor.
The nominated performance, “Mandolin Concerto,” is part of a collection of "Concertos for Mandolin, Piccolo, Piano and Concerto Grosso" by Israeli composer Avner Dorman. (See also my interview with Dorman.
Conductor Andrew Cyr is the innovative mastermind and entrepreneurial energy behind the Metropolis Ensemble, a nonprofit professional chamber group of young and talented classical musicians, which formed around an intimate group of his supporters.
Offering chamber and solo performances by classical musicians in alternative settings, groups like Metropolis take their art right to their audiences’ homes, proving that someone’s (albeit large) living room might be just as effective a venue as Carnegie Hall (if not more so).