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Kansas City Chorale, Johnson County Native Joyce DiDonato Among 2021 Grammy Nominees

AGRIPPINA _ ROH Covent Garden, Conductor; Maxim Emelyanychev, Agrippina; Joyce DiDonato, Nerone; Franco Fagioli, Poppea; Lucy Crowe, Ottone ; Iestyn Davies, Claudio; Gianluca Buratto, Pallante; Andrea Mastroni, Narciso; Eric Jurenas, Lesbo; Jose Coca Loza,
Bill Cooper
Agrippina is a role Joyce DiDonato has performed in concert and in opera houses, including at Covent Garden. DiDonato's three-CD set recording, "Handel: Agrippina" was nominated for a Grammy for Best Opera Recording.

The 2021 Grammy nominees were announced on Tuesday — and at least five artists with Kansas City ties are in the mix.

Nominated in the category of Best Choral Performance, "Kastalsky: Requiem" features several choirs, including the Kansas City Chorale conducted by artistic director Charles Bruffy.


In an interview with Classical 91.9, Bruffy said about previous Grammy nominations, including three wins: "It's beyond your wildest dream ... You have to pinch yourself."

"Kastalsky: Requiem" charted in the #1 spot on Billboard, only the second time in more than 30 years that the Naxos label had reached #1 on the Billboard charts.

"It was an ambitious undertaking for the Kansas City Chorale," said executive director Don Loncasty, in terms of recording a piece that had not been heard in its entirety in 100 years as well as raising $75,000 for the project.

"And I can't tell you how gratifying it was for me and for the whole organization to see the outpouring of financial resources that made it possible for us to do this," he said.

The recording also received a nomination for Blanton Alspaugh as Producer of the Year, one of nine nominations for Alspaugh.

The Kansas City Symphony's recording of "Holst: The Planets; The Perfect Fool" earned a Grammy nod for David Frost as Producer of the Year, one of seven Frost productions.

"We have had the pleasure of working with David Frost on recording projects," said the Symphony's marketing director Jeff Barker in an email, "and we can attest he is one of the premier producers in the industry and very deserving of his Grammy nomination."

Barker added, "David’s work on our recording made the project one of our best yet. He works magic!"

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, a native of Prairie Village, Kansas, earned a nomination for Best Opera Recording for "Handel: Agrippina."

Jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny, who grew up in Lee's Summit, Missouri, was recognized for Best Arrangement on the recording "From This Place."

Also, listen for alto saxophonist Logan Richardson on the recording, "Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard" up for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Richardson, a bandleader, composer and producer, maintains a home in Kansas City and performs on the session.

The Grammy Awards will be announced on March 14, 2021, starting at 7 p.m. on CBS.

KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee also provided reporting for this story.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include comments from the Kansas City Symphony and the Kansas City Chorale, and the postponed airdate in March.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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