Producer of the Year, Classical

Jan 30, 2008 3:31 PM


A three-time winner in this category, Steven Epstein is a famously eclectic producer comfortable working with almost any genre of music. Even the five works for which he is nominated this year show an amazing range of styles, using various symphonies, ensembles and choirs: John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony; Leonard Bernstein’s Mass ; John Corigliano’s Dylan Thomas Trilogy; Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quintets; and Yo Yo Ma’s Songs of Joy and Peace, a holiday offering on which the gifted cellist tackles everything from “Joy to the World” to “Here Comes the Sun” to “My Favorite Things.”

Blanton Alspaugh
A noted producer, engineer and even conductor, Blanton Alspaugh is enjoying his second consecutive year with multiple Grammy nominations. In the classical production category, he is being honored for his work on such diverse album projects as Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ravel’s L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges (which is also a nominee in the Best Classical Album category), Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina “Pro Pace.” Additionally, Alspaugh’s production of an album of John Musto’s Volpone is nominated in the Best Opera Recording category. (In 2008, he also had a Best Surround recording nomination.)

John Fraser
The esteemed Jon Fraser has produced literally hundreds of classical recordings since the late ’80s, diving extensively into the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms; you name ’em, he’s produced their music. His extensive resumé also includes many non-classical recordings, including many Broadway soundtracks and others. This year, however, he’s been nominated for his work on new recordings of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd; a vocal work by lyric soprano Kate Royal called Midsummer Night (featuring arias both well-known and obscure); Schubert’s Schwanengesang; and Shadows of Silence, featuring the great pianist Leif Ove Andsnes on a selection of pieces by a number of modern European composers, including Witold Lutoslawski and Marc-André Dalbavie.

David Frost
The producer and pianist is the son of 1986 Classical Producer of the Year Thomas Frost, and won this category himself five years ago. (He was nominated last year, too.) He’s worked with many different labels, including BMG Classics (as staff producer), Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, London/Decca and others, and collaborated with a wide variety of artists covering numerous styles, including Renée Fleming, Andre Previn, Leonard Slatkin, Luciano Berio, pianists Evgeny Kissin, Alicia de La Roccha, Van Cliburn and more. This year he’s nominated for the Eroica Trio’s An American Journey (works by Mark O’Connor, George Gershwin and three trio suites by Leonard Bernstein from West Side Story); guitarist Shaon Isbin’s Journey to the New World , which features John Duarte’s seven-part “Joan Baez Suite” for guitar (Ms. Baez is also on the album); Mark O’Conner’s 13-part “Strings and Things Suite” and several more; a CD featuring Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “Violin Concerto” and the “Schauspiel Overture” from Much Ado About Nothing; Mozart’s Piano Concertos 21 & 22; and Mark O'Connor’s String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3.

James Mallinson
Mr. Mallinson is certainly no stranger to the Grammys—he’s won this category twice before (1979 and 1991) and earned trophies during the past three decades for a number of other productions, including five for Best Classical Album, four for Best Opera Recording, last year’s Best Orchestral Performance and a few others. Mallinson spent 12 years working for Decca Records but has worked for many labels since, and is known for creating LSO Live, the London Symphony Orchestra’s own label, for which he has produced dozens of album since 2000. Among the works that have helped get his latest nod from the Grammys are James MacMillan’s St. John Passion; a new version of Mahler’s Symphony No.8; Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 15; and Shostakovich’s The Nose (a satirical opera about a nose that leaves its owner’s face and strikes out on its own).

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