IU Jacobs School of Music scores at Grammys
The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music intended to make some noise at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards on February 11, and make some noise it did. At least five Jacobs alumni and one former faculty member brought home the coveted golden gramophone on "music's biggest night."
Internationally acclaimed concert pianist and alumna Angelin Chang, won this year's Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra for her piano solo performance of Olivier Messiaen's Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds) with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, conducted by John McLaughlin Williams, who also won the Grammy. Born and raised in Muncie, IN, and now an assistant professor of piano at Cleveland State University, Chang was the only American nominated in that category this year. She studied with Menahem Pressler and György Sebök while at IU.
Paul Hillier, former director of the IU Early Music Institute and former Choral Department faculty member, won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for Pärt: Da Pacem, conducting the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) on this collection of sacred works by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Hillier is currently artistic director and principal conductor of the EPCC, founder and director of Theatre of Voices, and chief conductor of Ars Nova Copenhagen. One of the world's foremost choral conductors, Hillier also recently received the Order of the White Star from the Estonian Government, its second-highest honor.
But, perhaps, the most emotional Jacobs-related moment of the evening came in bittersweet form when alumnus, David Baker student, and prior Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Michael Brecker posthumously won the award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for his work on Some Skunk Funk from his brother Randy's live album of the same name. Brecker died January 13, 2007, in New York, at the age of 57, following a two-and-a-half-year battle with MDS and, then, leukemia. He was one of the most highly regarded jazz players of his time.
Michael also received a 2007 Grammy Award, along with fellow IU alums brother Randy, keyboardist Jim Beard, and drummer Peter Erskine, with Germany's WDR Big Band Köln, for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for the live recording Some Skunk Funk.
In 1973, Michael and Randy, trumpet and flugelhorn virtuoso, formed the world-renowned Brecker Brothers and released the original version of their trademark album, Some Skunk Funk, in 1975.