First-time GRAMMY Awards nominees Nicola Benedetti and Cristian Măcelaru won the Best Classical Instrumental Solo Award for their world premiere recording of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto and Fiddle Dance Suite, written especially for Nicola and recorded with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
In a night of firsts, Nicola (pictured above in rehearsals) also became the first classical solo violinist to perform at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony in a decade, and the first ever British classical artist. Preceding the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, the Premiere Ceremony was hosted by two-time GRAMMY winner and nominee Imogen Heap. Other performers included jazz legend Chick Corea, folk music supergroup I’m With Her and Best New Artist nominee Yola.
Watch Nicola’s performance of Wynton Marsalis’ “Bye-Bye Breakdown” (Fiddle Dance Suite) at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony:
Nicola commented: “I am so honoured to have won a GRAMMY for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and to have performed at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony. This recording project has been a deeply edifying experience for me and one I will always reflect on with immense gratitude. It has been a privilege to learn and perform these two inspired and unequivocal masterpieces, and to deepen my understanding of Wynton’s compositional language, cultural richness and philosophical insights. Long-form musical pieces are often described as a journey and this sure has been a rich and fascinating one.”
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato won her first GRAMMY in 2014, for Diva Divo. Five years on, she earns her third award: Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for Songplay– a unique album which fuses music of the baroque with an all-star jazz ensemble.
Joyce reacted to her win on Twitter, saying: “I’m deeply honored for this recognition by the @RecordingAcad, and as I said in my speech NOW is the time for artists to write the songs and play the songs that will bring joy and light and truth into our lives.”
Watch Joyce and her band perform an extract from their rendition of Conti’s “Quella Fiamma”, arranged for Songplay by pianist & arranger Craig Terry. Filmed live at The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York, USA) on 5 March 2019:
The live stream of the Premiere Ceremony will remain on GRAMMY.com for 90 days following the event.