Kronos gets Grammy nomination for Vasks quartet

A performance by the Kronos Quartet of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’ “String Quartet No. 4” is among recordings nominated for a Grammy Award, the Recording Academy has announced in Los Angeles.

The performance, released in August on a compact disc single, is one of three by the Kronos Quartet featuring work by three internationally known composers, according to quartet’s recording company, Nonesuch Records. The compositions were commissioned to celebrate the Kronos Quartet’s 30th anniversary. Vasks’ “String Quartet No. 4,” according to Nonesuch, “somberly reflects on the passing of the last century.”

The Kronos Quartet was nominated twice this year for Best Chamber Music Performance, once for the Vasks composition and once for its performance of Austrian composer Alban Berg’s “Lyric Suite,” which features the soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Others nominated in the category are Michael Cox, Nicholas Daniel and the Maggini Quarter for “String Quartet No. 1” by Arthur Bliss; Speculum Musicae for “Oboe Quartet” by Elliott Carter, and Boris Berman and the Vermeer Quartet for their performances of piano quintets by Dmitry Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke.

The Kronos Quartet, formed in 1973 in Seattle but now based in San Francisco, consists of Jennifer Culp on cello, Hank Dutt on viola, David Harrington on violin and John Sherba on violin.

In other Baltics-related Grammy nominations, two recordings involving Estonian choirs are up for awards for Best Choral Performance. Conductor Paul Hillier is nominated for his work on Baltic Voices 1, featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Conductor Paavo Jarvi and chorus masters Tiia-Ester Loitme and Ants Soots are nominated for Sibelius: Cantatas, which features the Ellerhein Girls’ Choir, the Estonian National Male Choir and Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

Robina G. Young is nominated for Classical Producer of the Year for her work on several recordings including Baltic Voices 1 and The Powers Of Heaven, both of which feature Hillier conducting the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.

Winners of the Grammy Awards will be announced Feb. 8. —Andris Straumanis

Kronos Quartet

A recording of a composition by Pēteris Vasks is up for a Grammy Award.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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