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.

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