Barbara Hannigan tops Grammy classical winners (full list)

Barbara Hannigan tops Grammy classical winners (full list)


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2018

The Canadian soprano won classical vocal album last night at the Grammys, for Crazy Girl Crazy.


Other winners include Daniil Trifonov, Pat Kop, Jennifer Higdon (twice) and Gavin Bryars. There’s a first-ever Grammy for the Houston Symphony. And a posthumous Grammy for Leonard Cohen for his last album, which employs a Montreal synagogue choir.

Rest of the best:

Producer of the year: David Frost

Orchestral performance: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio, Manfred Honeck, conductor, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Opera recording: Berg: Wozzeck, Hans Graf, conductor; Anne Schwanewilms, Roman Trekel, soloists; Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony.

Choral performance: Bryars: The Fifth Century, Donald Nally, conductor

Chamber music/small ensemble performance: Death & The Maiden, Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Instrumental solo: Transcendental, Daniil Trifonov

Compendium: Higdon: All Things Majestic, Viola Concerto & Oboe Concerto,” Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Nashville Symphony

Contemporary composition: Viola Concerto, Jennifer Higdon, composer

Engineered album: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio, Mark Donahue, engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)



  • Caravaggio says:

    Wow they hand out Grammys these days like charity. For example, Hannigan’s short timed album which contains that coital and absurd Berio piece and the awful Gershwin rearrangement. The Berg piece is fine but worth a Grammy? Then the opera award to a recording containing the voiceless Schwanewilms. Puzzling.

    • David R Osborne says:

      Look to be honest, Barbara Hannigan is a brilliant artist when in her element but she really should stick with the avant-garde stuff.

  • herrera says:

    Last year it was Shostakovich 5 (Boston), this year it was Shostakovich 5 (Pittsburg). I didn’t realize so much could be said in Shostakovich 5.

    I listened to HIgdon’s pieces. It’s very snappy and easy on the ear. Like Bruno Mars.

  • erich says:

    Can it be that the ghastly Trump’s ‘America First’ is also holding sway here? Europeans also make great recordings…

  • Bruce says:

    Something to be aware of: relatively few people vote in the classical categories of the Grammys. I remember reading that back in the 1980’s, somebody connected with the Atlanta Symphony realized that all the musicians involved in any recording were eligible to vote. The ASO had been making good but relatively unheralded recordings. They got the orchestra members registered, and voilá! — the Atlanta Symphony began winning grammys on a regular basis. I wouldn’t imagine that much has changed over the years.

    • David R Osborne says:

      Still preferable to Australia Bruce, where classical music has been extracted from the maingame (Aria) awards, and now happily shares a place alongside Jazz in their own little ghetto, they call it the ‘Art Music’ awards.

      A whole sector of the art-form cheerfully giving itself awards without any annoying accountability to audiences or the public at large.

    • jim says:

      Sounds like a fishy story. Do you have anything to back that up? Now, to vote you have to have at least 6 credits on a commercial record. Usually, orchestral musician are uncredited.

      • David R Osborne says:

        I’m sure ‘credited’ is interpreted by the academy as ‘having played on’ that number of commercial releases. The Wrecking Crew played on any number of major recordings without being credited, I can’t imagine they would have excluded musicians of that calibre just because their names are not on the sleeve.

      • Bruce says:

        I have no proof. It’s just something I vaguely remember reading somewhere years ago.

        • PaulD says:

          I remember the controversy, too. If you google “Controversy Again Casts Cloud Over Grammy Awards Program ” you will find a newspaper article from 1986 that touches on the Atlanta Symphony and block voting. Not a lot of detail, though.

      • M2N2K says:

        The fact that Atlanta Symphony was winning Grammys for most of their recordings in 1970s and 1980s is more than enough of a proof.

        • herrera says:

          The Atlanta Symphony has more Grammys than the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics combined.

          • Greg says:

            The awards garnered by the ASO are largely attributable to the involvement of the ASO chorus and the quality of Telarc’s recordings. I don’t believe they have created the definitive account of any mainstream repertoire.

          • M2N2K says:

            Precisely: adding chorus to recordings certainly ensures more votes.

  • Kristina Pax says:

    The whole “Grammy” was a shame. All my friends and I agree that we will not watch it again. It is politics all over. Only Bono and Elton John performing were worth our time. Two dresses were worth seeing there. That was all there was. A real star’s album,Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s album, lauded online, beforehand, was not even mentioned. Shame, big-time shame!

  • YoYo Mama says:

    Canada has Juno awards, France has Grand Prix du Disque. Foreign artists should NOT be eligible for Grammys except in an international category. Like so many other opportunities, it is unfair to Americans. But most of the Grammy winners are questionable, like always. And all it takes to be a nominee is money and connections.

    • Brian says:

      Recording awards are often very nationalistic. Look at Gramophone’s awards – they’re full of British performers doing Elgar and Vaughan Williams. The Canadian Junos inevitably have a Glenn Gould reissue. The French ones usually give a prize to one of the Capucon brothers or perhaps Aimard.

      I do think the classical Grammys are conducted with some integrity – or at least more than the pop Grammys, which mostly celebrate commercial dreck.

  • Kristina Pax says:

    It is a small wonder that a pop Grammy was not advertised as such. “Pop Grammy”? All in all, this Grammy transmission was lauded as “Grammy” period, to be aired at a certain time on a certain day and month. No mention of classical or pop. And it was a highly, politically charged show. Not an art show. Disgusting!