Our First Classical Loves

By Mary Lathem

Some loves are instant and lifelong, and others take time to grow – whatever your path, it’s always the right time to fall in love with classical music. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, several of our staff members reveal the moment they found their First Classical Love:

Ted Weiner

Ted Weiner,
Music Director


“It was the summer of 1984, and I was living in Manhattan and between jobs. I had free time, so for most of the summer, I cooled off almost every afternoon in the Lincoln Center Library listening to Mozart from their wondrously expansive classical music LP collection. Back then I wasn’t too well versed in classical music, but I figured it was time to start expanding my education. I had recently seen ‘Amadeus’ on Broadway, so I knew I couldn’t lose with Mozart. One of the first albums that caught my eye was the Flute and Harp Concerto with James Galway and Marisa Robles. I was lucky to grab one of the turntable listening spots after a short wait, so I sat right down and began to listen. In a matter of moments, I found myself slumped in the chair with my eyes closed listening to some of the most glorious music I had ever heard. The sheer beauty transfixed me as if I had been enveloped in heavenly clouds. The second movement, Andantino, had me nearly in tears when the finale kicked in, culminating in Galway and Robles’s closing cadenzas with Ms. Robles’s glorious glissando bringing shivers down my spine. 

The music ended and I opened my eyes with a big smile, knowing I had discovered something that would remain special for the rest of my days. Then I noticed a young lady standing in front of me, looking a little perturbed and impatient waiting for me to give up my turntable spot. I think there was a twenty minute limit for the listening posts, and I had been there the entire thirty minutes of the concerto. I apologized to her as I gathered my things and I stood in front of her for a moment before leaving, smiled and said, ‘Mozart.’ Her frown turned upside down into a big smile of recognition as I turned to return the LP to the shelf. That free time at the Lincoln Center Library brought me to a peaceful place I have since replicated many times simply by listening to Mozart.”

Frank Dominguez

Frank Dominguez,
General Manager and Content Director


“My First Classical Love was Vivaldi… only I didn’t know it was Vivaldi at the time. I was about five years old, and I had a beloved LP that told the story of Puss ‘n’ Boots. I can still see the colorful cover: Puss was portrayed as a fluffy yellow cat with a dashing cavalier’s hat, tall leather boots and a flowing cape. I loved to play that record, but over time, I stopped listening to the story and started listening to the music between scenes instead. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was all by Vivaldi, mostly from his Four Seasons concertos and a few others. My favorite music was at the end, when Puss was triumphant and had been rewarded by his master for his loyalty and resourcefulness: a Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets. Since then my tastes have evolved to include music by Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, and Philip Glass, among others – but that Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets remains my First Classical Love.”

John Barcelo

Jon Barcelo,
Corporate Sponsorship Representative


“My first, if not the first clear memory of enjoying classical music came as a young elementary school-age kid in Boston. The composition was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It was a sunny, hot July 4th celebration moving into a warm, muggy evening at the Boston Esplanade on the Charles River. Arthur Fidler was conducting the Boston Pops. This piece was (and still is) the ‘big finish.’ 

My mother was always the impetus when sharing classical music on local public radio.  It was a constant around our home. My Dad, brother and I followed her lead. Dad, being a career Army Artilleryman, found this 1812 Overture extra special with the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 101st Field Artillery Battalion’s lineup of several howitzer cannons, which expelled round after round of thunderous blasts for the climactic finish. Fidler in his white jacket and baton is still a vivid memory with the stunning arrangement of the orchestra, the artillerymen in their combat fatigues, and the fireworks in the sky with Boston’s scenic skyline as a background. It was a memorable Independence Day celebration.”

Mary Lathem

Mary Lathem,
Marketing & Digital Communications Specialist


“My exposure to classical music before college began and ended with a homemade mix CD my opera-loving best friend burned for me. I had always been a musical theatre and choir kid, so even though I recognized that the pieces were beautiful, the music didn’t ‘click’ with me until a few months later during my freshman year of college. Wanting to embrace all of the opportunities available to me, I decided to audition for the spring opera, Mozart’s The Magic Flute. How different could it be from musical theatre, right?

To my surprise, the rehearsal and preparation process was unlike anything I had ever tried before. Something about the physical challenge of popping high A flats while safely handling a prop dagger gave me a new level of respect for the art form, and I suddenly found myself listening to every opera recording I could get my hands on in my free time. Plus, there’s a reason The Magic Flute has been such an enduring staple of the repertoire; the score and storyline are pure magic. That production was the beginning of a penchant for classical music, and opera in particular, that will be with me for life. And yes – I fished that mix CD out from a stack of high school mementos, and it’s been in my car’s CD console ever since.”


From our listeners:

Our listeners warm our hearts every day, but we are especially grateful for their First Classical Love stories this Valentine’s Day – because of their experiences, we found each other! Read a few of our favorites:

“My brother was a freshman in college (Harvard) and brought home a beautiful LP of Swan Lake and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. After listening to that record once, I was hooked. A small town boy from Alabama was forever thereafter enthralled by classical music.”

Howell Pruett

“When I heard the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, it touched my heart. I had just lost my mom to cancer the previous year, and my grandparents were from Spain. Whenever I hear it, it brings me memories of her.”

JoAnn Buehler

“My earliest memory of classical music was my grandmother playing the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata on the piano, accompanied by my grandfather on his violin. Later, Mrs. Larsen tried to teach me piano and Miss Lois tried to make a ballerina of me. Alas – I had NO talent, but I could NEVER forget the music.”

Nancy Ford

“My first classical love was… YOU! As a teen, I stumbled across WDAV on my way to finding rap and Top 40 music. Much to my parents’ delight, I fell in love with classical music. Thanks for being the soundtrack for my life.”


I don’t love Beethoven

By Lawrence Toppman

I have the profoundest respect for Ludwig van Beethoven’s music. I am exalted by it, frightened by it, ennobled by it, touched by it, on rare occasions amused by it, even taken to spiritual realms. But I don’t love it the way I do Mozart’s music.

No matter what mood I am in, Mozart speaks to me. When I can’t decide what to hear, I often default to Mozart, and I’m always gratified. That’s love. I could say the same for Frank Sinatra’s concept albums for Capitol Records, much of The Beatles’ stuff, Handel’s “Water Music,” Brahms’ Third Symphony, Verdi’s “Otello,” great doo-wop collections and a few albums by other performers or composers.

I have to be in the mood for Beethoven, though. I have to need the churning intensity that seems to categorize even his lighter pieces. When I am, he satisfies my soul. When I’m not, I can go weeks without listening to him.

That will change in the year leading up to the 250th anniversary of his birth, probably on Dec. 16. (Most scholars accept that date, because he was baptized the next day.) I’ll immerse myself in LVB, armed with Jan Swafford’s titanic biography “Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph” and an 85-CD box of his complete works. (Hmmm…It’s less than half as big as Mozart’s complete box. Maybe I will get through every bit of it this time! But all those mundane songs….)

I plan to post every other week. That’s partly because I don’t know Beethoven as thoroughly as I do Mozart, and partly because a lot of the topics I raised in “A Year with Mozart” apply equally well to Beethoven. (For instance, they are memorialized in the same place – Vienna’s Central Cemetery – where you, too, can acquire a plot.)

This will be a journey of rediscovery in many cases. I have more recordings of the Ninth Symphony (nine) than any other piece ever written, but I’ll try to listen to it with open ears. I will also try to dig deeper into compositions that have never spoken to me. (String trios, I’m talking about you. “Christ on the Mount of Olives,” you’re next.)

Maybe I’ll discover hidden gems. Maybe I’ll enjoy my hundredth plunges into the last three piano sonatas and the world’s greatest violin concerto in different ways. Maybe, with luck, I’ll even fall in love.

Soprano Mirella Freni, Dies at 84

Pictured: Mirella Freni By Unknown (Mondadori Publishers), Public Domain.

One of the truly great singers of her generation, an artist who honored the lyric soprano repertory with standard-setting performances in nearly every role she sang, Mirella Freni was a level-headed, unpretentious woman who seemed singularly unaffected by her extraordinary acclaim. In a career of fifty years, she conquered audiences, colleagues and critics but had no enemies; her sovereign charm, directness and sincerity made everyone rejoice in her success. Read complete article at Opera News

Q&A: Music Prof. Neil Lerner on John Williams, the Composer Behind the Indelible ‘Star Wars’ Score

By Jay Pfeifer
This article originally appeared on Davidson.edu on December 18, 2019.

Lerner, music professor and chair of the music department, has been teaching classes about music and cinema for more than 20 years—and every class covers the scores of John Williams, the composer who has defined the sound of movies for more than 40 years.

Williams is best-known for the scores he wrote for all nine “Star Wars” films. The upcoming release of “The Rise of Skywalker” marks the end of a four-decade engagement between Williams and the Skywalker saga.

In addition to the opening theme, Williams’s “Star Wars” scores are renowned for his skillful use of motifs, using music to convey the hope in Luke Skywalker’s journey or the lurking menace of Darth Vader. In fact, Lerner thinks he noticed a connection between two motifs that might hint at ties between Rey, the young star of the new “Star Wars” trilogy, and the sinister Emperor.

Music Prof. Neil Lerner offers insight into the famed composer behind the movie scores that help to make the movies we love. Videography by Alex Smith.

Of course, Williams also wrote dozens of other notable scores, including for the films “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Schindler’s List”—to name a few.

Lerner shared some of his insight on Williams’ music and his place in the classical-music canon below.

What is John Williams’s place in classical music?

At the moment, he’s regarded chiefly as a film composer. And in the world of classical music, film scores are starting to get a little more recognition, but film music is still not seen as important as operas or symphonies or chamber music. I think as more time passes, that’s going to shift.

Is that because film is still a relatively young medium?

That’s right. Film scoring really didn’t start until the late 1920s or early 1930s, when we have the beginning of synchronized sound film. Also, film music is commercial entertainment. There’s no denying that. Yet some films can be really rich, complicated and interesting texts.

I predict that Williams’s music is going to be considered some of the most important and interesting music composed in the 20th and 21st century. And in the same way that listeners and scholars and performers can now go back and enjoy the symphonies of Beethoven or Haydn, or the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, or the polyphonic masses of Josquin des Prez, they will go back to study and listen to the film scores of John Williams.

Why is that?

They’re masterfully put together. There is an imaginative, creative musical mind behind them; he’s a composer who is brilliant with the symphony orchestra. We now have digital sampling and the ability to create any sound we can imagine, but in the 18th and 19th century, the orchestra was the pinnacle of musical instruments. It’s a dying art in several ways. And Williams is, I think, one of the last great practitioners of that, the culmination of a symphonic tradition, and also in many ways the sunset of it as well.

Though “Star Wars” is his most famous work, he has scored for dozens of films that sound very different. Is his range what makes him so great?

That’s part of it but, to my mind, what makes him so important is his imagination for memorable melodies and his choices of orchestration—that is, how to make an orchestra sound sometimes incredibly huge and powerful and imposing, or how to make it other times sound incredibly delicate and intimate, and to know just when to use these different effects.

By the time “Star Wars” came out in 1977, Williams had already won two Oscars. He was an accomplished, successful composer. How did “Star Wars” change John Williams?

Star Wars” is regarded by many as a renaissance of the symphonic film score, but the success of “Star Wars” was part of the new Hollywood that was defined by cross-marketing. The music promotes the film, the film promotes the music.

And in the “Star Wars” score, you’ve got stylistic connections to many composers. There’s a strong tie back to Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a composer who was an important composer of action scores in the 1930s and 1940s for the Errol Flynn swashbucklers. Korngold’s sound was part of what Williams was aiming for in “Star Wars.”

With Williams, you’ve this strange fluke that he would go on to compose music for “Star Wars” films for more than 40 years. What do you see in the long thread of all the “Star Wars” music?

We’re still seeing it all happen in real time, so as a historian I want to have time to let the dust settle. But he’s changed and developed as a composer at each of these stages. The prequel scores sound different from the first three. And in the same way, these last three scores, to me, sound more autumnal in style. Instead of pulling out all the stops to create an effect, he knows just how much to do to make it work. And that’s the sort of wisdom and experience of a lifetime of composing. I think now we’re seeing a master finishing off masterpieces.

Oscars 2020 Predictions: A Viewer’s Guide to Who Will Win

By Lawrence Toppman

In this century, the Academy Awards have turned into a coronation rather than an election. As an endless parade of ceremonies precedes the Oscars – not just the Golden Globes but the guilds for writers, actors, directors, producers and more – the likelihood of a surprise in a major category becomes remote. At most, two films may run neck and neck, yet even that’s rare.

On the other hand, moviegoers could see something unusual on the big night this year. Though I think the same film will win best picture and director on February 9, I believe all four acting categories and both screenplay categories may go to different nominees.

You may wonder why I’m writing about the Oscars for WDAV. I’m going to start reviewing movies later this year for the website on an occasional basis. I’ll write about pictures I think its listenership may be curious about, ones that are media phenomena or likely to pass under the radar if I don’t point them out. We’re still figuring out how this will work. But after my time as The Charlotte Observer’s film critic from 1987 to 2017, I welcome a chance to begin again.

Now about those Oscars….

Best picture and director“1917” and Sam Mendes. “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” have lost momentum, and the industry respects films that are dramatically powerful, epic in scope, difficult to make and perceived to be “significant,” whatever that may mean. Mendes’ gripping “1917” is all four.    

Best actor and actress: Voters gravitate toward three types of performances: Showy ones that run a gamut of emotions, those that dominate a picture (whatever their length in the film) and those depicting illnesses: addictions, physical disabilities, mental or emotional breakdowns. Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” and Renee Zellweger in “Judy” qualify on all three counts.

Best supporting actor and actress: These tend to be “It’s their turn” prizes for veterans whom voters have enjoyed for many years. Brad Pitt is an obvious choice for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Laura Dern less of one – but a clear front-runner – for “Little Women.”

Best original screenplay and adapted screenplay: “Marriage Story” has rightly been praised for many things, especially Noah Baumbach’s script about a crumbling marriage between show business people. It’s harder to pick adapted screenplay: I think Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” deserves the prize, but perennial favorite Steven Zaillian seems to be ahead for “The Irishman.”

As I’m writing for a station that sometimes features movie music, I’ll also say I think Thomas Newman will win best original score for “1917.” He’s overdue – this is his 15th nomination with no wins — and his stirring score beautifully underpins the action without overwhelming it.

Audio: A Closer Look at the 2020 Oscar Nominations for Best Score

Updated Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony airs February 9, 2020. Music professor and film music scholar Neil Lerner shares his thoughts about the nominated scores, which include the first woman to compete in the category, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and family members Thomas and Randy Newman, each chosen for their work in separate films. Tune in at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to hear him speak about the nominees or listen to his thoughts below:

Neil Lerner on Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score for Joker:

Neil Lerner on the score for Little Women by Alexandre Desplat:

Neil Lerner on Thomas Newman’s music for the war drama 1917:

Neil Lerner on John Williams’ score for Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker:

Neil Lerner on Randy Newman’s score for Marriage Story:


2020 Grammy Awards: 5 Classical Moments We Loved

Pictured: Nicola Benedetti by Simon Fowler.

By Mary Lathem

The 62nd GRAMMY Awards were stacked with dynamic performances and historic wins, including plenty of thrills for fans of classical music. For those who missed the broadcast (or just want to relive the glory), we’ve rounded up some of the classical moments that defined the GRAMMYs this year:


1. Nicola Benedetti’s powerful performance at the GRAMMY Award Premiere Ceremony left the audience in awe.

The Scottish-born violinist’s rendition of “Bye Bye Breakdown” from American jazz composer Wynton Marsalis’ “Fiddle Dance Suite,” evoked thunderous applause from the audience at the GRAMMY Award Premiere Ceremony, where the majority of GRAMMYs are awarded prior to the televised ceremony. She later received the award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her recording of Marsalis’ “Violin Concerto and Fiddle Dance Suite.” Benedetti was the first classical solo violinist to perform at the GRAMMY Award Premiere Ceremony in a decade.

Watch Benedetti’s performance here:

VIDEO: Nicola Benedetti performs “Fiddle Dance Suite” at the 2020 Grammy Awards.


2. Lizzo’s opening performance featured an all-female string and horn orchestra (and, of course, her famous flute).

Singer-songwriter and rapper Lizzo kicked off the GRAMMYs broadcast with a medley of her hit songs accompanied by an orchestra of her own vision. An outspoken former “band kid” and classically trained flutist, Lizzo has often commented positively on her own musical education and encouraged others to try playing an instrument.  Lizzo proclaimed “Tonight is for Kobe” as her performance began, paying tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who lost his life in a tragic aviation accident earlier in the day.

The multidimensional artist went on to win three GRAMMY Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance (“Truth Hurts”), Best Urban Contemporary Album (Cuz I Love You), and Best Traditional R&B performance (“Jerome”).

Watch Lizzo’s performance here:

VIDEO: Lizzo performs “Cuz I Love You” & “Truth Hurts” at the 2020 Grammy Awards.


3. John Williams received his 25th Grammy Award, winning the Best Instrumental Composition category for “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite.”

Subtitled “Music inspired by the Disney themed land,” Williams’ winning composition was written for the Disneyland theme park Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where it will greet visitors via overhead speakers for years to come. The suite is Williams’ first work for Star Wars that does not weave in previously written themes (no Imperial March here).

Hear Williams’ “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite”:

VIDEO/AUDIO: John Williams’ “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite”


4. Classical giants Joshua Bell and Lang Lang joined several famous faces in a tribute to producer Ken Ehrlich.

After 40 years leading the show, GRAMMYs executive producer Ken Ehrlich announced that the 2020 ceremony would be his last as he enters retirement. In true GRAMMYs fashion, a colossal, diverse group of talents joined together in a salute to Ehrlich’s contributions, performing “I Sing the Body Electric” from the 1980 movie musical Fame. Along with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Lang Lang, the star-studded ensemble featured singers Camila Cabello, John Legend, Gary Clark Jr., Cyndi Lauper, and Ben Platt; rapper Common, and ballet dancer Misty Copeland among others.

Watch Joshua Bell and Lang Lang’s opening moments with Camila Cabello:


5. Hildur Guðnadóttir won Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the miniseries Chernobyl, another history-making award for the Icelandic composer.

Guðnadóttir has had quite the awards season already, becoming the first solo woman to receive the Best Original Score award at the Golden Globes for Joker in early January. Her most recent win marks another historical moment: she is now the first solo woman to take home the Best Score Soundrack for Visual Media GRAMMY award as well. To match the industrial grittiness of the destruction onscreen, Guðnadóttir knitted the score for Chernobyl together with sounds recorded in a real power plant in Lithuania.

Watch Guðnadóttir’s explanation of the creative process:

VIDEO: ‘Chernobyl’ composer created entire haunting score from real power plant sounds.

Read the list of nominees and winners in the Classical, Music for Visual Media and Arranging/Composing categories, here.

2020 Grammy Awards: Complete List of Classical Nominees & Winners

Image Credit: Courtesy of the Recording Academy™/Getty Images © 2019

The 62nd Grammy Awards marked a banner year for excellence and innovation in classical music, including numerous history-making wins. For more on the 2020 Grammys, don’t miss our roundup of 5 Classical Moments We Loved.


Best Orchestral Performance

WINNER Norman: Sustain
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)

Copland: Billy The Kid; Grohg
Leonard Slatkin, conductor (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)

Louis Langrée, conductor (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)

Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, conductor (City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Kremerata Baltica)

Best Opera Recording

WINNER Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Gil Rose, conductor; John Brancy, Andrew Craig Brown, Gabriel Preisser, Krista River & Edwin Vega; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Boston Children’s Chorus)

Benjamin: Lessons In Love & Violence
George Benjamin, conductor; Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Peter Hoare & Gyula Orendt; Raphaël Mouterde, James Whitbourn, producers (Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House)

Berg: Wozzeck
Marc Albrecht, conductor; Christopher Maltman & Eva-Maria Westbroek; François Roussillon, producer (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra; Chorus Of Dutch National Opera)

Charpentier: Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles
Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Jesse Blumberg, Teresa Wakim & Virginia Warnken; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble)

Best Choral Performance

WINNER Duruflé: Complete Choral Works
Robert Simpson, conductor (Ken Cowan; Houston Chamber Choir)

Boyle: Voyages
Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)

The Hope Of Loving
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor (Conspirare)

Sander: The Divine Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom
Peter Jermihov, conductor (Evan Bravos, Vadim Gan, Kevin Keys, Glenn Miller & Daniel Shirley; PaTRAM Institute Singers)

Smith, K.: The Arc In The Sky
Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

WINNER Shaw: Orange
Attacca Quartet

Cerrone: The Pieces That Fall To Earth
Christopher Rountree & Wild Up

Freedom & Faith

Third Coast Percussion

Rachmaninoff – Hermitage Piano Trio
Hermitage Piano Trio

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

WINNER Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite
Nicola Benedetti; Cristian Măcelaru, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)

The Berlin Recital
Yuja Wang

Higdon: Harp Concerto
Yolanda Kondonassis; Ward Stare, conductor (The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)

The Orchestral Organ
Jan Kraybill

Torke: Sky, Concerto For Violin
Tessa Lark; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

WINNER Songplay
Joyce DiDonato; Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter & Craig Terry, accompanists (Steve Barnett & Lautaro Greco)

The Edge Of Silence – Works For Voice By György Kurtág
Susan Narucki (Donald Berman, Curtis Macomber, Kathryn Schulmeister & Nicholas Tolle)

Philippe Jaroussky & Céline Scheen; Christina Pluhar, conductor; L’Arpeggiata, ensemble (Jesús Rodil & Dingle Yandell)

Schumann: Liederkreis Op. 24, Kerner-Lieder Op. 35
Matthias Goerne; Leif Ove Andsnes, accompanist

A Te, O Cara
Stephen Costello; Constantine Orbelian, conductor (Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium

WINNER The Poetry Of Places
Nadia Shpachenko; Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin, producers

American Originals 1918
John Morris Russell, conductor; Elaine Martone, producer

Leshnoff: Symphony No. 4 ‘Heichalos’; Guitar Concerto; Starburst
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

Meltzer: Songs And Structures
Paul Appleby & Natalia Katyukova; Silas Brown & Harold Meltzer, producers

Saariaho: True Fire; Trans; Ciel D’Hiver
Hannu Lintu, conductor; Laura Heikinheimo, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

WINNER Higdon: Harp Concerto
Jennifer Higdon, composer (Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)

Bermel: Migration Series For Jazz Ensemble & Orchestra
Derek Bermel, composer (Derek Bermel, Ted Nash, David Alan Miller, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra & Albany Symphony Orchestra)

Marsalis: Violin Concerto In D Major
Wynton Marsalis, composer (Nicola Benedetti, Cristian Măcelaru & Philadelphia Orchestra)

Norman: Sustain
Andrew Norman, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Shaw: Orange
Caroline Shaw, composer (Attacca Quartet)

Wolfe: Fire In My Mouth
Julia Wolfe, composer (Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J. Núñez, Donald Nally, The Crossing, Young People’s Chorus Of NY City & New York Philharmonic)



Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

WINNER A Star Is Born
(Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper) Paul “DJWS” Blair, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Nick Monson, Lukas Nelson Mark Nilan Jr. & Benjamin Rice, compilation producers; Julianne Jordan & Julia Michels, music supervisors

The Lion King: The Songs
(Various Artists) Jon Favreau & Hans Zimmer, compilation producers

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
(Various Artists) Quentin Tarantino, compilation producer; Mary Ramos, music supervisor

(Taron Egerton) Giles Martin, compilation producer

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
(Various Artists) Spring Aspers & Dana Sano, compilation producers; Kier Lehman, music supervisor

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media

WINNER Chernobyl
Hildur Guðnadóttir, composer

Avengers: Endgame
Alan Silvestri, composer

Game Of Thrones: Season 8
Ramin Djawadi, composer

The Lion King
Hans Zimmer, composer

Mary Poppins Returns
Marc Shaiman, composer

Best Song Written For Visual Media

WINNER “I’ll Never Love Again (Film Version)” from A Star is Born
Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Aaron Raitiere, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)

“The Ballad Of The Lonesome Cowboy” from Toy Story 4
Randy Newman, songwriter (Chris Stapleton)

“Girl In The Movies” from Dumplin’
Dolly Parton & Linda Perry, songwriters (Dolly Parton)

“Spirit” from The Lion King
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Timothy McKenzie & Ilya Salmanzadeh, songwriters (Beyoncé)

“Suspirium” from Suspiria
Thom Yorke, songwriter (Thom Yorke)



Best Instrumental Composition

WINNER “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite”
John Williams, composer (John Williams)

“Begin Again”
Fred Hersch, composer (Fred Hersch & The WDR Big Band Conducted By Vince Mendoza)

“Crucible For Crisis”
Brian Lynch, composer (Brian Lynch Big Band)

“Love, A Beautiful Force”
Vince Mendoza, composer (Vince Mendoza, Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts & Temple University Studio Orchestra)

“Walkin’ Funny”
Christian McBride, composer (Christian McBride)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

WINNER “Moon River”
Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)

“Blue Skies”
Kris Bowers, arranger (Kris Bowers)

“Hedwig’s Theme”
John Williams, arranger (Anne-Sophie Mutter & John Williams)

“La Novena”
Emilio Solla, arranger (Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra)

“Love, A Beautiful Force”
Vince Mendoza, arranger (Vince Mendoza, Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts & Temple University Studio Orchestra)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

WINNER “All Night Long”
Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier Featuring Jules Buckley, Take 6 & Metropole Orkest)

Geoff Keezer, arranger (Sara Gazarek)

“Marry Me A Little”
Cyrille Aimée & Diego Figueiredo, arrangers (Cyrille Aimée)

“Over The Rainbow”
Vince Mendoza, arranger (Trisha Yearwood)

“12 Little Spells (Thoracic Spine)”
Esperanza Spalding, arranger (Esperanza Spalding)

For a complete list of winners and nominees from the awards ceremony, click here.