February 11, 2019

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057, jkaufman@esm.rochester.edu)

Four Eastman School of Music alumni, Steve Gadd, Rob Paterson, Karim Sulayman, and D.J Sparr were winners in the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.’s 61st GRAMMY Awards, Sunday February 10.

Steve Gadd (BM68) won the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for The Steve Gadd Band.  Often cited as one of the most influential contemporary drummers in the world, Gadd won his first Grammy with this album. Gadd was inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame in 2018, and will be playing at the CGI International Jazz Festival at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre on June 21, 2019. 

Rob Paterson (BM95)’s opera Three Way—A Trio of One-Act Operas was included in the credits for Blanton Alspaugh’s Producer of the Year Classical Album. Three Way is a new opera on the present and future of sex and love, first produced by Nashville Opera.

Best Solo Vocal Album went to Songs of Orpheus and included tenor Karim Sulayman (BM98). Lebanese-American tenor Sulayman has garnered international attention as a sophisticated and versatile artist, consistently praised for his sensitive and intelligent musicianship, riveting stage presence, and beautiful voice. He regularly performs on the world’s stages in orchestral concerts and opera, as well as in recital and chamber music, while forging a standout path in the music of the Italian Baroque.

In addition, Best Classical Compendium went to “Spiritualist” which featured alumni D.J. Sparr (BM97) who played a guitar concerto on the album, called “Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush.” D. J. Sparr recently completed his tenure as the 2011-2014 Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony where his works were premiered by Nicholas McGegan, Donato Cabrera, and Robert Treviño. Recent premieres have been by the Washington National Opera, eighth blackbird, the Dayton Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, and Hexnut. 

As the world’s leading society of music professionals, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. is dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and sustaining music’s past, present, and future.

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About Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division—about 550 undergraduate and 350 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 25 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and numerous alumni and faculty have received Grammy Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 800 concerts to the Rochester community.


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