Sweet repeat at the Grammys


Two cheers for Conspirare! The astounding vocal ensemble led by Craig Hella Johnson is now two for two for two with the Grammys: two CDs two years apart and two nominations for each. Conspirare's recording Requiem was up for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical for the 49th annual Grammys in 2007. The latest honors, announced Dec. 3, come for Tarik O'Regan: Threshold of Night, a disc featuring compositions by the masterful young British composer whose work so impressed Johnson that he devoted an entire concert to it (see "Threshold of Night: Music of Tarik O'Reagan," Oct. 5, 2007) and recorded the concert selections in the acoustically stunning Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, N.Y. The resulting CD, Conspirare's first for premier classical label Harmonia Mundi, was released in September to impressive sales and rapturous reviews. (See "Conspirare," Sept. 5.) The Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album are exquisite icing on an exceptional cake.

O'Regan was in the UK working late when he heard a BBC announcer make reference to the nominations, which he hadn't realized were being announced. Going to the Grammy website, he writes, "I clicked on 'Field 30, Classical' and there, staring me right in the face was 'Best Classical Album: O'Regan, Tarik: Threshold of Night (Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson).'" Not quite trusting his eyes – it was 3am – he went to bed. By the time he got up, a press release from Harmonia Mundi was in his in-box confirming the great news. "I sent a very simple e-mail to Craig, [Conspirare Executive Director] Erich Vollmer, [marketing and communications manager] Chuck Lutke, Harmonia Mundi, and the recording engineers that simply said, 'Congratulations everyone, how wonderfully exciting!' We then all took turns e-patting ourselves on the back over the course of the day. You know, it feels like some classic TV show from the Seventies, where a whole family gets to win a holiday somewhere! That's how I feel. Very much a team effort. I've been thinking all day, 'Ah, that's how they feel at the Olympics!'"

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Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson, Tarik O'Regan: Threshold Of Night, Harmonia Mundi

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