St. Louis Symphony Earns Two Grammy Nominations for City Noir Recording

Music director David Robertson leads the Grammy-nominated St. Louis Symphony. - Dilip Vishwanat
Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the Grammy-nominated St. Louis Symphony.

Everyone knows that the St. Louis Symphony is one of the premier orchestras in the world. The latest Grammy nominations simply seal the deal.

St. Louis' globally renowned ensemble is up for two Grammys centered on its Nonesuch Records recording of John Adams' City Noir, a piece about Los Angeles in the '40s and '50s that the composer describes as "jazz-inflected symphonic music." During the February 8 awards ceremony, SLSO has the opportunity to take home prizes for "Best Orchestral Performance" and "Best Engineered (Classical) Album."

"It is wonderful to be recognized for what we are doing all the time, in the concert hall and in the community," says music director and conductor David Robertson. "People who have known the orchestra for decades have been writing to tell me they have never heard the group sounding as good as it does now. It takes a whole team to produce such results, and I could not be more proud to have this nomination as proof of the blessing we have with the SLSO."

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Led by Robertson, the Symphony recorded City Noir over two performances during February 2013, with Adams in attendance. The Nonesuch album, released in May of this year, also includes SLSO's performance of an Adams-penned saxophone concerto, recorded in October 2013. New York Times-lauded saxophonist Timothy McAllister is featured on both pieces.

"Adams is able to write in a variety of styles and genres while maintaining his personal voice," Robertson says about City Noir's composer. "City Noir combines a wide-screen cinema feel with late '40s jazz inflections to conjure the Los Angeles of the famous period of film noir."

Listen to part of City Noir below:

SLSO is no stranger to the Grammy game, already having won six awards and having received 56 nominations (excluding the two current ones) over the years. The Symphony was founded in 1880.

"We are happy to be producing recordings again," Robertson tells RFT Music. "This is our second on the Nonesuch label, and the virtuoso panache of the performance really shines through. Our musicians put their heart and soul into what they play, and that sets them apart."

The Symphony's competition in the Best Orchestral Performance category includes the Seattle Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For Best Engineered (Classical) Album, SLSO is up against Become Ocean by the Seattle Symphony, Symphony No. 1; Tout Un Monde Lointain; The Shadows Of Time also by the Seattle Symphony, Riccardo Muti Conducts Mason Bates & Anna Clyne by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Dona Nobis Pacem; Symphony No. 4; The Lark Ascending by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. View Grammy nominations in all categories here.

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This year's Grammy nominations come at a special time, as Robertson currently is celebrating his tenth season as music director of the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest orchestra in the United States. He recently extended his contract with SLSO through the 2017-2018 season and has received RFT Best of St. Louis awards for Best Reason to Go to Powell Hall and Best Ambassador for St. Louis, among others.

The Symphony, itself, has earned its share of acclaim. The New York Times named SLSO's Carnegie Hall performance of Peter Grimes as one of the top five classical concerts of 2013, the orchestra regularly is invited to perform globally, and alt-rock god/concerto composer Ben Folds talks about the group's high-caliber musicians any chance he gets. The Symphony's numerous series focusing on both traditional classical music and non-classical music have helped its audience and revenue grow year after year.

The St. Louis Symphony's next performances will be held December 12-14 in crossover shows with Circus Flora. Information and tickets for all performances are available at

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