The announcement of nominations for the 2016 GRAMMY Awards on Dec. 7 no doubt prompted music lovers (at least this one) to wade through hundreds of names in scores of increasingly exotic categories ("Best Regional Mexican Album, Including Tejano"), looking for classical-music artists and local honorees.
It is painfully obvious that rock, pop, and all that jazz overwhelmingly dominate what was originally called the Gramophone Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, so it is remarkable who has won the most trophies since the beginning of GRAMMYs in 1959.
No, not Beyoncé (20), Kanye West (21), or Alicia Keys (15), but... Sir Georg Solti, who won 31 awards, having been nominated 74 times. Pierre Boulez came close, with 26 awards. The San Francisco Symphony has been nominated 19 times and won 15 awards - seven for the Mahler cycle (with Michael Tilson Thomas, also responsible for conducting a John Adams CD, which won a GRAMMY), eight for other projects going back in time.
This time, the local orchestra nominated is not the S.F. Symphony, but the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra - for Best Engineered Album, Classical, and the recording of Ask Your Mama. What? It's a composition by Laura Karpman, to poems by Langston Hughes.
Other local nominees are Encore Consultants' Ledins (Marina and Victor) of San Rafael, for producing Dances For Piano & Orchestra, Tempo Do Brasil, and Woman at the New Piano (with Nadia Shpachenko).
Among notable classical nominations:
• Producer of the Year, Classical, Blanton Alspaugh: Tower, Violin Concerto; Stroke; Chamber Dance (Giancarlo Guerrero, Cho-Liang Lin & Nashville Symphony), and Manfred Eicher: Franz Schubert (András Schiff)
• Best Orchestral Performance: Bruckner, Symphony No. 4, Manfred Honeck, conductor, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Shostakovich, Symphony No. 10 (Under Stalin's Shadow), Andris Nelsons, conductor, Boston Symphony
• Best Opera Recording: Janácek, Jenufa, Donald Runnicles, conductor, Deutsche Oper Berlin (Will Hartmann, Michaela Kaune and Jennifer Larmore), and Mozart, Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor, Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Diana Damrau, Paul Schweinester and Rolando Villazón)
• Best Choral Performance: Beethoven: Missa solemnis, Bernard Haitink, conductor, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and Monteverdi, Vespers Of 1610, Harry Christophers, conductor, The Sixteen
• Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Brahms, Piano Trios, Tanja Tetzlaff, Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, and Filament, Eighth Blackbird
• Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: Joyce & Tony - Live From Wigmore Hall, Joyce DiDonato, Antonio Pappano, piano, and Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album, Jonas Kaufmann; Antonio Pappano, conductor, Orchestra Dell'Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia)