For immediate release
February 24, 2000
ALBUM PRODUCED BY NPR WINS GRAMMY AWARD
First Grammy Award-Winning Album for NPR
For the first time, a CD recorded by National Public Radio (NPR) has won a Grammy Award -- it is a recording of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem", which was produced by NPR Senior Producer Benjamin Roe, Producer Bruce Scott, and NPR Recording Engineers John Widoff and Bill McQuay, and designed by NPR's Creative Services. The Grammy Award, for Best Choral Performance, went to The Washington Chorus and Orchestra. The CD was recorded live at The Kennedy Center on April 14, 1995 during a concert commemorating the end of World War II, which included remarks by then Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. According to the Nov./Dec. 1999 American Record Guide, the CD "is one of the finest recordings of the work available - in one aspect even surpassing Britten's own recording!"
Britten's "War Requiem" is regarded by many scholars as his most significant composition and one of the most important large-scale choral compositions of the twentieth century. This piece was composed in 1961 in response to a commission for the consecration of the rebuilt Cathedral of St. Michael in Enlgand, which had been destroyed during a German air raid in 1940. The first performance was given on May 30, 1962. Portions of the Kennedy Center performance were aired on NPR's flagship classical music program, NPR's Performance Todaỷ.
According to Murray Horwitz, VP of Cultural Programming at NPR, "The War Requiem CD is an outstanding example of the kind of thing NPR takes special pride in doing: marking the intersection of public affairs and cultural expressions. The Washington Chorus commemorated an important public event - the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II - with a shining performance of a noble work. NPR is proud to have produced this historic recording, and pleased that the Grammy Award voters have recognized its achievement."
Senior Producer, Benjamin Roe, is currently the Senior Producer for Music and Special Projects at NPR and has been with the organization for 13 years. Producer Bruce Scott has been with NPR for 14 years and is currently is the Producer for NPR's World of Opera and Executive Producer for NPR's At the Opera. Recording Engineer Bill McQuay has worked at NPR for eight years and Recording Engineer John Widoff has been with NPR for 25 years.
NPR figured in the nomination for two other 2000 Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album and Best Engineered Album in the Classical Music category for "Dvorak: Stabat Mater," containing a full-length interview by NPR's Martin Goldsmith with the late conductor, Robert Shaw. NPR's classical music program Performance Today won a 1999 Peabody Award and the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1998.
Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of 14.6 million Americans each week via 625 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.