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Kansas City's Classical Connection To The 2021 Grammy Awards

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Reference Recordings / The Metropolitan Opera

A handful of classical artists with Kansas City connections were nominated for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, with the premiere ceremony held virtually on March 14th.

David Frost won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Classical. Among his many albums, he produced the Kansas City Symphony’s “Holst: The Planets and The Perfect Fool,” conducted by Michael Stern, with Reference Recordings.

Stern and The Kansas City Symphony have worked with Frost on multiple projects.

“It’s incredible to have Reference Recordings as our partners-in-crime because they are devoted to the highest standard of recordings,” says Stern. “Hats off to David Frost, hats off to Reference, and of course, to all my friends and colleagues in the Kansas City Symphony.”

Frost also produced The Metropolitan Opera’s live recording of “The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess,” which won Best Opera Recording.

Classical KC
David Frost accepting his Grammy for Producer of the Year: Classical. (Screen shot from the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony.)

Tenor David Morgans Sanchez, raised in Kansas City and a graduate of William Jewell College and the UMKC Conservatory, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in that production as a chorister and featured soloist.

Another UMKC Conservatory graduate, Alannah Garnier, was also on that recording of Porgy and Bess, as well as the album "Ives the Complete Symphonies" from Gustavo Dudamel, which won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance.

Though the Kansas City Chorale, already a multiple Grammy Award winner, didn’t win this year for the album “Kastalksy’s Requiem,” they made their own red carpet experience at the Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church for a live stream watch party. From that red carpet, artistic director Charles Bruffy describes the experience of being live in-person at the Grammy Awards.

“You are sitting in this huge arena, dark, filled with people, and they have on the big screen up in the front and it lists all of the nominees in every category. You realize those are your heroes that are up there,” Bruffy says. “And then you recognize that your name is included.”

Classical KC
Charles Bruffy being interviewed on the red carpet before the Kansas City Chorale's 2021 Grammy watch party. (Screen shot from the Kansas City Chorale Facebook live feed.)

The Grammy-nominated recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s “Requiem for Fallen Brothers” is a collaboration between the Kansas City Chorale, Cathedral Choral Society, The Clarion Choir, The Saint Tikhon Choir, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Check here for a full roster of winners and nominees with Kansas City connections.

Music Selections:

"Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity"
From Gustav Holst’s The Planets
The Kansas City Symphony, conducted by Michael Stern
The Planets - The Perfect Fool
Produced by David Frost, Reference Recordings

Oh, I can’t sit down”
From The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by David Robertson
Produced by David Frost, The Metropolitan Opera

"Requiem Aeternum"
"Confutatis: While the Wicked are Confounded"
From Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers
The Kansas City Chorale, Cathedral Choral Society, The Clarion Choir, The Saint Tikhon Choir, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Leonard Slatkin
Produced by Blanton Alspaugh, Naxos Records

Originally from Indiana, Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She's written for KCUR, KC Studio, The Kansas City Star, The Pitch, and KCMetropolis. Libby maintains the culture blog Proust Eats A Sandwich and writes poetry and children's books. Along with degrees in trombone performance, she was a Fellow for the NEA Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
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