Grammy nod for Darrell Ang

Singaporean conductor Darrell Ang's first CD recording has been nominated for a Grammy Award for best orchestral performance.
Singaporean conductor Darrell Ang's first CD recording has been nominated for a Grammy Award for best orchestral performance.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singaporean conductor Darrell Ang's first CD recording has been nominated for a Grammy Award for best orchestral performance.

Zhou Long & Chen Yi: Symphony 'Humen 1839', released by music label Naxos in May this year, features Ang, 36, leading the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The Straits Times understands that this is the second time a Singaporean has received a Grammy nod.

In 2012, Arun Shenoy's Spanish flamenco-inspired album, Rumba- doodle, was nominated for best pop instrumental album but lost to American trumpeter Chris Botti.

Ang's album and its Asia-Pacific flavour stand out among the four other contenders. They include veteran Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for Bruckner's Symphony No. 4; Latvia's Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10; Uruguay-born Carlos Kalmar and The Oregon Symphony for Spirit Of The American Range and France's Ludovic Morlot with the Seattle Symphony for Dutilleux: Metaboles; L'Arbre Des Songes; Symphony No. 2, Le Double.

Ang, who is performing this month in Munich, Germany, shared the nomination on his Facebook page with the words: "My first Grammy nomination! Beginner's luck: this also happens to be my very first CD recording..."

It is his first Naxos recording of purely symphonic work. Last year, he and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra recorded Giacomo Meyerbeer's French operas for the label.

The title track of the CD is co- composed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Zhou and his China-born contemporary Chen Yi, both 62.

It is the composers' only collaborative work and commemorates the public burning of more than 1,000 tonnes of opium in June 1839 in Humen, Guangdong, an act which led British opium traders to start the first Opium War with China.

Also on the CD is Zhou's The Rhyme Of Taigu, a 2003 work co-commissioned by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and performed on the orchestra's Europe tour in 2010.

Until 2013, Ang was young associate conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and is a regular guest with well-known ensembles such as the London Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin and Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

Since 2012, he has been music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne in north-west France.

Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd are the top contenders for the 58th annual Grammy Awards, nominations of which were announced on Monday.

American rapper Lamar, whose album To Pimp A Butterfly was one of the year's most popular and critically adored releases, is up for nine awards, more than any other act. The album was named for Album of the Year and its song Alright is up for Song of the Year.

Swift was nominated seven times for 1989, which is up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Her hit Blank Space was named for Record and Song of the Year.

The two share two nominations for her song Bad Blood, on which he is a featured vocalist: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video.

Canada's The Weeknd, 25, also had seven nods for Beauty Behind The Madness, the album that transformed him from Internet oddity to full-blown pop star. It took a nod for Album of the Year and its song Can't Feel My Face is up for Record of the Year.

In a sign of his crossover success, he scored nominations in both pop and R&B genre categories, including Best Pop Solo Performance for Can't Feel My Face and Best R&B Performance for Earned It from the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack.

The Grammy ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on Feb 15 and broadcast by CBS.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'Grammy nod for Darrell Ang'. Print Edition | Subscribe