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Last modified: Wednesday, December 13, 2006

IU Jacobs School of Music hopes to make noise at Grammy Awards

Dec. 13, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Move over Mary J. Blige and Justin Timberlake. Step aside Red Hot Chili Peppers. Some red hot musicians from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music are ready to crash the Grammy Awards.

With one legendary faculty member and a host of alums competing, the school will be heavily represented at the annual awards ceremony to be held on Feb. 11. This year's list of Grammy nominations includes a recording made at IU's Auer Hall by Distinguished Professor of Music Menahem Pressler and his Beaux Arts Trio, as well as an album featuring the talents of four acclaimed IU jazz alums.

The Beaux Arts Trio, led by Indiana University Distinguished Professor of Music Menahem Pressler (center), received a Grammy nomination in the Best Chamber Music Performance category.

Print-Quality Photo

The Beaux Arts Trio, which Pressler co-founded in 1955, received a Best Chamber Music Performance nomination for Shostakovich: Piano Trios 1 & 2, Seven Romances On Verses By Alexander Blok. The trio will compete against another IU-related performer -- Jacobs School alum and Canadian violin virtuoso Corey Cerovsek, who appears on Corigliano: Violin Sonata, Etude Fantasy.

The Grammy nominating committee also bestowed special recognition on IU's renowned Jazz Studies Department. Alums Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Jim Beard and Peter Erskine were nominated in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category for the live album Some Skunk Funk.

The nomination is the latest in a long string of Grammy honors for brothers Michael and Randy Brecker, who together formed the seminal jazz-funk group the Brecker Brothers. The group, which is credited with defining 1970s jazz-funk fusion, earned seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1982. Michael, a tenor saxophonist who is one of the most studied instrumentalists in music schools throughout the world, has won 11 Grammys as a performer and composer. Randy, one of the world's most sought-after jazz trumpet players, has won three Grammys. Erskine, a renowned drummer, won the award with the group Weather Report.

Michael was also nominated in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category for his solo work on a track from Some Skunk Funk.

World-famous trumpeter Chris Botti, who studied at the Jacobs School with Distinguished Professor of Music David Baker, was nominated, along with legendary American pianist Burt Bacharach, for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Recently picked as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," Botti was nominated for two awards last year.

John Clayton, a Grammy-winning bassist, arranger and bandleader, was nominated in two categories: Best Instrumental Arrangement (for "Lullaby of the Leaves" from The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Live at MCG) and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (with David Foster for "Can't Buy Me Love" from It's Time). Clayton, along with his saxophonist brother Jeff and drummer Jeff Hamilton, founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He has worked on recordings with many notable artists, including Gladys Knight, John Pizzarelli and Diana Krall.

Other IU-related nominees include:

  • Soprano Caroline Worra, a former voice student of IU Chancellor's Professor of Music Costanza Cuccaro. Worra appears on Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's The Mines of Sulphur, nominated for Best Opera Recording.
  • Paul Hillier, former director of the IU Early Music Institute and former Choral Department faculty member. Hillier conducts the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir on Pärt: Da Pacem, a collection of sacred works by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

For more news and information about the IU Jacobs School of Music, visit

For the school's inaugural podcast, featuring a performance by the Grammy-nominated Beaux Arts Trio, go to