A disc of orchestral music by Kenneth Fuchs, the new head of the University of Connecticut’s music department, garnered two Grammy Award nominations today.
An American Place features three of Fuchs’ original compositions recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and released by Naxos on the American Classics label in August. The disc received nominations in the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra category for English hornist Thomas Stacy’s performance of Fuchs’ Eventide, and the Best Classical Producer category for Michael Fine.
“ I am thrilled and honored that the disc of my orchestral music recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra has received this recognition by the voting membership of the Recording Academy,” Fuchs said Thursday. “It is very gratifying that 20 years of sustained friendship through music with conductor JoAnn Falletta and Thomas Stacy have led to this moment.
“I am so pleased this has happened during my first year at UConn,” he added. “All of my colleagues have been tremendously supportive.”
The disc features Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra performing three of Fuchs’ original works: An American Place, a 19-minute work for full orchestra in one movement; Eventide, a 21-minute concerto for English horn, harp, percussion and string orchestra; and Out of the Dark, a 15-minute suite for chamber orchestra, inspired by three paintings by abstract expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler.
For Fuchs, the CD represents the culmination of 15 years of his creative life as a composer and 20 years of friendship that began when he, Falletta and Stacy, of the New York Philharmonic, were colleagues at The Juilliard School in New York City.
The disc also showcases Fuchs’ entrepreneurial side, as he had only a few months to raise the funds necessary for the nine-hour session with the world-class orchestra, which has recorded an extraordinary number of movie sound tracks, including all of the Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Superman films and many of American composer Aaron Copland’s scores.
“Composers today must be resourceful about getting recognition for their works and getting them into the musical mainstream,” Fuchs said. “The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the great orchestras of the world. What sets the orchestra apart is that it begins recording upon first reading of the music. I had never before witnessed that level of virtuosity. It was a thrill.
“Recording my compositions with the LSO also was a highly instructive experience for me, which I will use to teach our students at UConn the years of practice and patience it takes to perfect their craft as well as the ever-changing industry side of music,” Fuchs added.
A distinguished composer and scholar, Fuchs came to UConn from the University of Oklahoma, where he was director of the School of Music and a professor of composition from 1998 - 2005. He was previously dean of students and academics at the Manhattan School of Music, and assistant to the director of performance activities at the Juilliard School in New York City.
As the new director of UConn’s music department, Fuchs oversees a staff of more than 40 accomplished performers, scholars and educators. He also is responsible for the music department’s signature programs, including the Sackler Composition Prize, the largest cash prize given by an institution of higher education for the commission of new work, and its internship program with the Metropolitan Opera, the only existing academic partnership between a university and the world’s most prestigious opera company.
For more information about Kenneth Fuchs, including a complete biography, visit www.kennethfuchs.com. For more information about the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts, visit www.sfa.uconn.edu.
For a complete list of the 48 th annual Grammy Award nominations, visit: http://www.grammy.com/awards/grammy/48Awards.aspx. Grammy Award winners will be announced Feb. 8, 2006.