Composer Kenneth Fuchs’ latest album, “Cloud Slant,” continues to earn accolades four months after its July release, the latest a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year, Classical.
As executive producer of the album that features conductor John Wilson and the prestigious Sinfonia of London, Fuchs, professor of composition in UConn’s music department, says the prospect of earning a second Grammy is an exciting one.
In 2019, Fuchs earned the award for Best Classical Compendium for his album, “Piano Concerto, ‘Spiritualist’/Poems of Life/Glacier/Rush,” recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra for Naxos Records. This is his fifth Grammy nomination.
“I am profoundly grateful to the voting members of the Recording Academy who supported ‘Cloud Slant,’” he says. “Several hundred classical music recordings were submitted by record labels in both the United States and Europe to the Recording Academy for Grammy Award consideration in the classical field.”
The Academy has 12,000 voting members who cast ballots for five nominees in each category.
For Producer of the Year, Classical, members nominated audio producer Brian Pidgeon for his work on nine albums this year, including “Cloud Slant,” which was released by Chandos Records. Fuchs served as executive producer of the album, making him a contender for recognition by the Recording Academy.
“I composed all of the music for the album, developed the recording project over four years with John Wilson and Chandos Records, and raised the funds – over $125,000 – necessary to bring the album audio life,” Fuchs says. “I join music director John Wilson, the members of the Sinfonia of London, and everyone at Chandos Records in saying how thrilled and honored we are to be included among the nominees for the 2024 Grammy Award.”
Fuchs says he was taken by Wilson’s talent after hearing his recordings of classic Hollywood film scores and knew the two needed to connect on a project. After meeting in 2018, work began on “Cloud Slant.”
The album includes such works as “Solitary the Thrush,” a concerto for C and alto flute and orchestra based on a Walt Whitman poem; “Pacific Visions,” an eight-minute piece for string orchestra; and “Quiet in the Land,” described as a poem for orchestra.
The title work is a concerto for orchestra, using for inspiration three canvases by abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, “Blue Fall,” “Flood,” and “Cloud Slant” – a 19-minute ode to a longtime friendship between Fuchs and Frankenthaler whose words of encouragement inspired him to find his musical voice.
It’s the first of a two-volume collaboration with Wilson. The second, “Light Year,” will be released by Chandos Records in June 2024 and will debut four new works: “Light Year,” a suite for orchestra after six paintings by Helen Frankenthaler; “Eventide,” a concerto for alto saxophone; “Bass Trombone Concerto”; and “Point of Tranquility,” after a Morris Louis painting.
“I am thrilled to be the first living American composer whose music John Wilson is recording on two separate volumes. His interpretations with his virtuoso Sinfonia of London are perfect in every way possible,” Fuchs says.
Among its other accolades, “Cloud Slant” was in the top 10 of several classical charts in the United States and United Kingdom and received a coveted “Editor’s Choice” in the October issue of Gramophone. At UConn, the Office of the Vice President for Research, Connecticut Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Global Affairs, Office of the Provost, and School of Fine Arts helped bring the album to life.
“I am deeply grateful to all my colleagues at the University of Connecticut for their support of this recording project,” Fuchs says.
Grammy nominations were announced Friday. During the second and final round of voting from Dec. 14 to Jan. 4, members will select winners in each category. Also up for Producer of the Year, Classical, are David Frost, Morten Lindberg, Dmitriy Lipay, and Elaine Martone.
Winners will be announced Sunday, Feb. 4.