2017 Grammy Winners

Written by: 
Jessica DeLeón

2017 UNT alumni Grammy Award winners from top left: Michael Daugherty ('76), Maren Morris, Patricia Racette ('88) and members of Snarky Puppy. (Photo credits: Associated Press -- Michael Daugherty, Maren Morris; Devon Cass -- Patricia Racette) The Mean Green was well-represented at Sunday night's Grammy Awards, winning across a broad spectrum of categories:

  • Maren Morris, who attended UNT in 2010, won Best Country Solo Performance for her song "My Church."
  • Snarky Puppy, a group made up of several College of Music alumni -- including Michael League, Nate Werth, Justin Stanton ('10 M.M.), Bob Lanzetti ('04), keyboards; Harold "Shaun" Martin ('01), keyboards; Mike Maher ('04), Chris Bullock, Chris McQueen ('06) and Jay Jennings -- took home the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album Grammy for Culcha Vulcha.
  • Composition alumnus Michael Daugherty ('76) won three awards -- Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Classical Instrumental Solo and Classical Compendium -- for his work "Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway."
  • Opera singers Patricia Racette ('88) and Scott Scully ('99) performed on Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles, which received Grammys for Best Opera Recording and Best Engineered Album, Classical.
  • Saxophonist Tyler Summers ('02) and harpist Rizpah Lowe Fitzgerald ('03) played on Kirk Franklin's Losing My Religion, which won Best Gospel Album. The album was produced by Harold "Shaun" Martin ('01), who has worked on Franklin's past four albums.

College of Music Dean John W. Richmond says he was thrilled by the awards.

"I couldn't have been more excited about the achievements of our alumni," he says."It shows that the longstanding traditions of UNT musical excellence are continuing to grow."

The variety of categories represented ― from contemporary to classical and jazz, from instrumental to vocal ― demonstrates the comprehensiveness and breadth of UNT's College of Music.

And while the Grammy Awards are a personal achievement for the winners, being named a nominee also is prestigious.

"It's so thrilling for these artists," Richmond says. "The nominations alone put them in the very top echelons of their categories."

Grammy nominees included:

  • Carmen Cusack, a student in the early 1990s, who sang on the Bright Star Broadway show recording that was nominated for Best Musical Theater Album.
  • Dave Pietro ('87) and Rob Wilkerson ('00 M.M.), who played with Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Real Enemies.
  • James Blackwell ('09) and Chad Willis ('14), who performed on Bob Mintzer's All L.A. Band, nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
  • Andrew Savage ('08) of Parquet Courts, who served as art director for the band's Human Performance album, nominated in the Best Recording Package category.
  • Ray Brinker ('83), founding member of the Tierney Sutton Band, which was nominated in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for The Sting Variations. He also played drums on the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band track "Do You Hear What I Hear?" nominated for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.
  • UNT piano faculty member Joseph Banowetz, who played the piano on the album Friedman: Original Piano Compositions, which earned a nomination for Producer of the Year, Classical, for Marina A. Ledin and Victor Ledin.
  • John Beasley, son of UNT composition professor Rule Beasley, who earned nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Presents Monk'estra, Vol. 1, and for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, for the song "Ask Me Now."

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