Three Westminster Ensembles on the GRAMMY Preliminary Ballot


Three Westminster Choir College of Rider University ensembles are on the preliminary ballot for the 61st GRAMMY Awards.  The ballot is the first stage in a two-part voting process.  Recordings selected to be nominated for a Grammy Award are determined by the votes cast in this first round of voting, which ends on October 31. 

Included in the first-round ballot for Best Choral Performance are Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller for the recording Martin: Mass for Double Choir; Westminster Williamson Voices, conducted by James Jordan, for the recording From Silence to Light; and Westminster Symphonic Choir, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, for the recording Bernstein: Mass.

Westminster Choir’s recording Martin: Mass for Double Choir features Frank Martin’s a cappella choral masterwork.  It also includes three world premiere recordings:

  • Anders Öhrwall’s arrangement of the beloved Swedish folk tune Fäbodpsalm från Dalarna is distinguished by performances by David Kim, concertmaster for The Philadelphia Orchestra, and soprano Sherezade Panthaki, an acknowledged star in the early music field.
  • The much-anticipated release of Lux Surgit Aurea (See the golden sun arise), which was composed by Bernat Vivancos for the Westminster Choir to perform at the 2017 World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona.
  • The first SATB recording of Westminster Professor Joel Phillips’ Little Lamb, a setting of the poem by William Blake.

Westminster Williamson Voices’ recording From Silence to Light explores many choral sound worlds, with music with varying musical angles of refracted human light through sound. It includes Arvo Pärt’s Prayer after Kanon, Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque, James Whitbourn’s Pater Noster, Brian Schmidt’s Lead Me On, Maurice Duruflé’s Quatre and Motets sur des thèmes grégoriens and Ubi caritas, and Dan Forrest’s Entreat Me Not to Leave You.

The Westminster Symphonic Choir’s performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin, was recorded live at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall in Philadelphia.  The ensemble was joined by the Temple University Concert Choir and the American Boychoir for performances of this landmark work with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

In addition to Westminster’s ensembles, Westminster Professor Jay Kawarsky’s composition Sacred Rights, Sacred Song from the album Coro Del Mundo featuring Ensemble Vocal Luna, is included on first round ballot for Best Choral Performance.

As to be expected of a college with choir as its middle name, a number of alumni are also included on this preliminary ballot.  The Same Stream, composed of Westminster Choir College alumni and conducted by James Jordan, is included for the album Songs of the Questioner.  The Crossing conducted by alumnus Donald Nally and composed of several WCC alumni, is listed for If There Were Water and McLoskey: Zealot Canticles.  Alumnus Anthony J. Maglione, conductor of the William Jewell College Choir, is listed for I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes.  Alumna Betsey Cook Weber is listed as the choir director for the Houston Symphony Chorus and Orchestra’s recording of Haydn’s The Creation.

The Recording Academy has announced that it received more than 20,000 submission entries for GRAMMY consideration in 84 categories this year. Final GRAMMY nominations will be announced on December 5, and final-round voting begins on December 13.