The 2020 classical music GRAMMY prediction pool: how did CDA readers do?

Still Life with Crystal Ball Reflecting, Vincent Laurensz van der Vinne I

If you’re a close follower of Classical Dark Arts — specifically, a subscriber to a monthly mailer — you know we take the GRAMMYs seriously. At least, we take them seriously as a wagering event. Every year we ask CDA readers to pick winners for eight classical music-specific GRAMMY categories. Readers may then use live poll results to turn a crumpled tenner into a cash phone.

Now that the dust has settled I’m happy to note that you predicted three out of eight categories correctly: Best Orchestral Performance, Best Opera Recording, and Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. In two categories (Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and Best Classical Instrumental Solo) only a few prescient readers picked winners, while the crowd went in another direction. Predictions in three other categories were wrong, but trended closer to actual winners.

Best Orchestral Performance

  • CDA predicted winner: NORMAN: SUSTAIN. Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • Actual winner: (same)

Best Opera Recording

  • Predicted 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)
  • Actual winner: (same)

Best Choral Performance

  • Predicted winner: SMITH, K.: THE ARC IN THE SKY Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)
  • Actual winner: DURUFLÉ: COMPLETE CHORAL WORKS. Robert Simpson, conductor (Ken Cowan; Houston Chamber Choir)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

  • Predicted winner: CERRONE: THE PIECES THAT FALL TO EARTH. Christopher Rountree & Wild Up
  • Actual winner: SHAW: ORANGE. Attacca Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

  • Predicted winner: TORKE: SKY, CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN. Tessa Lark; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)
  • Actual winner: MARSALIS: VIOLIN CONCERTO; FIDDLE DANCE SUITE. Nicola Benedetti; Cristian Măcelaru, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

  • Predicted winner: SONGPLAY. Joyce DiDonato; Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter & Craig Terry, accompanists (Steve Barnett & Lautaro Greco)
  • Actual winner: (same)

Best Classical Compendium

  • Predicted winner: (tie, polled equally) AMERICAN ORIGINALS. 1918 John Morris Russell, conductor; Elaine Martone, producer; and SAARIAHO: TRUE FIRE; TRANS; CIEL D’HIVER Hannu Lintu, conductor; Laura Heikinheimo, producer
  • Actual winner: THE POETRY OF PLACES. Nadia Shpachenko; Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin, producers

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

  • Predicated winner: NORMAN: SUSTAIN. Andrew Norman, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  • Actual winner: HIGDON: HARP CONCERTO. Jennifer Higdon, composer (Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)

That’s it for now. Tune in later in the year when the next batch of GRAMMY winners is announced.


By Will Roseliep

Writer for different outlets. Personal work appears here first:

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