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Grammy Awards: Classical composer Michael Daugherty wins award for Superman-inspired 'Metropolis Symphony'

February 13, 2011 |  4:24 pm

Daugherty The classical music categories for the 2011 Grammy Awards were dominated by recordings of Michael Daugherty’s “Metropolis Symphony” -- inspired by the Superman comics and performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra -- and for Verdi’s “Requiem,” performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The recording of Verdi’s “Requiem” won the top classical Grammy for classical album as well as the award for choral performance. It features the Chicago Symphony and Chorus led by conductor Riccardo Muti and choral master Duain Wolfe. [Update: An earlier version of this post misstated the choral master as Christopher Alder.]

Earlier this season, Muti took over as music director of the orchestra, but his appearances have been cut short after he injured himself in a fall from the podium this month in Chicago. The 69-year-old conductor is recovering from surgery to his face and also has received a pacemaker.

Daugherty’s “Metropolis Symphony” won three awards, for contemporary composition, orchestral performance and engineering. “Metropolis” was inspired by the Superman comic-book character and features five separate movements. The recording, from Naxos, also includes the composer’s “Deus Ex Machina.” The album features the Nashville Symphony led by conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.

Daugherty served as the composer in residence for Orange County’s Pacific Symphony during its 2009-10 season.

“L’Amour de Loin,” by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, received the award for opera recording. The album, from Harmonia Mundi, features the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin led by conductor Kent Nagano, the former music director of the Los Angeles Opera.

The awards for solo musicians went to the pianist Mitsuko Uchida for a Decca recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 and 24, and organist Paul Jacobs for a Naxos recording of Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sacrement.”

Soprano Cecilia Bartoli won the Grammy for classical vocal performance for Decca’s “Sacrificium.” The Grammy for chamber music went to the Parker Quartet’s recording of Ligeti’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 from Naxos. The award for small ensemble performance went to “Dinastia Borja,” featuring the groups La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI, conducted by Jordi Savall.

Producer David Frost won the Grammy for classical producer of the year. The multiple Grammy winner is the son of Thomas Frost, who won the producer of the year award in 1987.


Composer Michael Daugherty hears the sounds of America

-- David Ng

Photo: Michael Daugherty. Credit: Boosey & Hawkes