It’s news that has nearly slipped under the radar – the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a major force in a recording which won no less than four 2014 Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles ceremony late last month.
For the ACO, the album, Winter Morning Walks, is a transatlantic collaboration with composer Maria Schneider, soprano Dawn Upshaw, producer David Frost, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Scott Robinson, Frank Kimbrough and Jay Anderson.
Nominated for awards as Best Classical Vocal Solo, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Producer of the Year (Classical), the recording made a clean sweep, winning in all these categories.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra is regarded as one of the nation’s finest ensembles with a formidable reputation overseas. Described in the New York Times as having hallmarks of “intensity and virtuosity”, their credential include seasons at London’s Cadogan Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre and Birmingham’s City Hall.
Winter Morning Walks was commissioned for Dawn Upshaw and the ACO. The nine-song cycle represents an integration of styles by Maria Schneider, the jazz composer and big-band leader who has recently turned her talents to composing classical music and combined a jazz-trio within the string ensemble. She has used as her text, poems by the former American poet laureate Ted Kooser, which reflect his recovery from a life-threatening illness.
For Upshaw, this is the 5th Grammy. Adept at established repertoire in both opera and recital, Dawn Upshaw also focuses on contemporary works, several of which have been creted for her, amongst them the oratorios La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho, El Niño by John Adams, Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and cycle Ayre.
Frost is a pianist, second generation Grammy Award winning producer of classical albums and himself a multiple Grammy Award winner. His previous collaborations include producing the Baz Luhrmann directed Broadway Cast Album of Puccini’s La Bohême and producing Grammy Award winning albums for Renée Fleming, Kathleen Battle, Placido Domingo and Daniel Barenboim.
Dawn Upshaw performs the Australian Premiere of Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks as part of the Dawn Upshaw, Elgar and Grieg programme of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, in Sydney between Sunday February 9th and Saturday 15th.
Also on the programme,
JOHN ADAMS Selections from John’s Book of Alleged Dances
GRIEG Holberg Suite, GRIEG Solveig’s Song
EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA Die Liebenden: Liebes Lied
ELGAR Introduction and Allegro
Helena Rathbone, Lead Violin/ Dawn Upshaw, Soprano/Scott Robinson, Alto & Bass Clarinet/Jay Anderson, Double Bass/Frank Kimbrough,Piano.