Grammy nominations for Andsnes and Ensemble 96

Norway’s most celebrated pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes and renowned chamber choir Ensemble 96 land prestigious Grammy nominations.

Listen to excerpts from Ensemble 96’s ‘Immortal Nystedt’ (2L 2005) here
Listen to and download ‘Immortal Nystedt’ here

Ensemble 96: Immortal Nystedt

Late last week saw pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and chamber choir Ensemble 96 and its record label/production company 2L landing Grammy nominations.

11 February will see whether if any of the two Norwegian nominees for the Grammy Awards take home the prestigious prize.

Andsnes nominated with Rachmaninov release

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is nominated in the category ‘Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)’ for his release ‘Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1 & 2’ (EMI Classics) with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Antonio Pappano. The same release has been bestowed with a Spelemannspris (the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammy) and a Classical Brit Award for best classical album. Andsnes has been nominated for a Grammy on six occasions, but has yet to take home the coveted award.

The other nominees in this category are:

Brahms: The Piano Concertos
Riccardo Chailly, conductor; Nelson Freire (Gewandhausorchester)

Henze: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 And 3
Christopher Lyndon-Gee, conductor; Peter Sheppard Skaerved (Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra)

Messiaen: Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds)
John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Angelin Chang (Cleveland Chamber Symphony)
Track from: Cleveland Chamber Symphony: Music That Dares To Explore, Vol. 6

Schmidt: Concertos
Ole Schmidt, conductor; Ulla Miilmann (Danish National Symphony Orchestra / DR)
[Dacapo Records]

Nystedt release garners Grammy nomination for choir

One of Norway’s most respected chamber choirs, the Ensemble 96, with its conductor Øystein Fevang and record label 2L land no less than two Grammy nominations for the release ‘Immortal Nystedt’. The release, which has garnered rave reviews at home and abroad since its release last year is nominated in the ‘Best Surround Sound’ and ‘Best Choral Performance’ categories. As the release’s title implies, the featured repertoire on the disc is choral works from Norway’s foremost composer in the field, Knut Nystedt.

Says the Ensemble 96’s conductor Øystein Fevang: “It is a tremendous honour to be bestowed with such an appraisal of quality.”

Says the ‘Immortal Nystedt’ producer and head of record label 2L, Morten Lindberg: “Two Grammy nominations are hardly what you expect when you’re running a small record label in a small country. But nevertheless, when it does happen it’s fabulously fun and serves to prove that even small labels have a chance in the great picture.”

Nystedt bio

Knut Nystedt (1915), born in Oslo, studied composition with Bjarne Brustad and Aaron Copland, organ with Arild Sandvold and Ernest White, and conducting with Øivin Fjeldstad. He was organist at Torshov Church in Oslo 1946-1982 and professor of choral conducting at the University of Oslo 1964-1985. He was conductor of, The Norwegian Soloists` Choir from 1950-90, and has toured with them not only the Scandinavian countries, but also Germany, France and three times the United States (twice under the management of Colombia Artists in New York). A visit to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand in 1978 was followed by concerts in China (1982) and Israel (1984 and 1988).

As a composer, Knut Nystedt has held a central position throughout a long period of rapidly shifting musical currents. With unfailing artistry he has shown a remarkable ability to adapt essential new discoveries to his own, highly personal, style, which is rich in colors and, at the same time, delicately nuanced.

While most of his works, both orchestral and choral, have been premiered in Norway by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra or by his own choir, he is one of the few Norwegian composers of today whose works are performed world-wide. They have also earned him both national and international honors. In 1966 the King of Norway made him knight of the Order of St. Olav in recognition of his contribution of Norwegian music. In 1975 the Augsburg College in Minneapolis awarded him their Distinguished Service Citation for his innovative influence on choral composition in the United States. In 1980 the Norwegian Arts Counsil gave him their Music Prize. And in 1984, his choral work De Profundis was elected "Best work of the year" - all categories - by the Society of Norwegian Composers. Professor Honorario, Mendoza University Argentina 1991.

Knut Nystedt is still active on the Norwegian and international music scene. He receives a large number of commissions and participates in choral workshops throughout the world. His 85th birthday was celebrated with concerts and various arrangements in Germany, USA and the Nordic countries. Of later major works could be mentioned: Apocalypsis Joannis : Symphony for Soli, Chorus and Orchestra,op. 155 (1998), commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Word Became Flesh, Op. 162 (2001) for 13 part choir, a commission for the Augsburg College Choir, and Reach Out For Peace for soprano, choir and orchestra, Op. 164 A (2001) a commission from the Norwegian choir Ceciliaforeningen.

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