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Media Contact:
Jen Rogers, Director of Marketing & Communications
480-204-0101 / jen@phoenixchorale.org

For Immediate Release 

2 GRAMMY Wins for Charles Bruffy and
Kansas City Chorale’s recording “Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen”

“Best Engineered Album, Classical” and “Best Choral Performance;”
Producer Blanton Alspaugh wins for “Producer of the Year”
for body of work including Life & Breath and Northern Lights

Life and Breath Choral Works by Rene Clausen 55th GRAMMY winner (Phoenix, AZ) – Last weekend, Charles Bruffy and the Kansas City Chorale picked up two GRAMMY awards for their recording Life & Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen including “Best Engineered Album, Classical” and “Best Choral Performance.” Charles Bruffy accepted the award onstage in Los Angeles at the 55th GRAMMY Awards pre-telecast ceremony. Sixteen singers from the Kansas City Chorale and four singers from the Phoenix Chorale attended the ceremony along with a group of over thirty that included staff, board, family and friends.

“This is such an honor for us to win the Grammy for choral performance. It is not common for an unaccompanied choral ensemble to win this award, and it is very gratifying to me and the remarkable singers of the Kansas City Chorale who worked so hard on this recording,” said Charles Bruffy, Artistic Director. “We share this accolade with our partners: the brilliant composer René Clausen, our label, Chandos Records and our engineers and producer at SoundMirror. We certainly wouldn’t be holding the Grammy without their incredible work, and faith in this album.”

Released on Chandos Records, Life & Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen is the first solo recording for the Kansas City Chorale on Chandos and the first recording dedicated entirely to the music of RenéClausen by a professional choir. Life & Breathearned a total of two GRAMMY Award wins including “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Engineered Album, Classical” which went to SoundMirror recording engineer John Newton. The album also includes the world premiere recording of Clausen’s Mass for Double Choir. Soloists on Life & Breath include David Adams, Matthew Gladden, Laura Inman, Lindsay Lang, Rebecca Lloyd, Sarah Tannehill, and Pamela Williamson.

This is the second GRAMMY award for Charles Bruffy; his first was for in 2008 with the Phoenix Chorale on Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary for “Best Small Ensemble Performance.” He has recorded seven albums with Chandos Records; four of these recordings have earned a total of ten GRAMMY nominations and four GRAMMY wins.

Grechaninov: Passion Week (released in 2007) featuring the Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale – WINNER for “Best Engineered Album, Classical” and nominated for “Best Choral Performance,” “Best Surround Sound,” and “Best Classical Album.”

Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary(released in 2008) featuring the Phoenix Chorale – WINNER for “Best Small Ensemble Performance” and nominated for “Best Classical Album.”

Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works(released in 2008) featuring the Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale – Nominated for “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Surround Sound.”

Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen(released in 2012) featuring the Kansas City Chorale – WINNER for both “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Engineered Album, Classical.”

For more information about these recordings, visit phoenixchorale.org and kcchorale.org.   

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About Charles Bruffy: One of the most admired choral conductors in the United States, the GRAMMY® Award winning conductor Charles Bruffy began his career as a tenor soloist, performing with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in recordings and in concerts both in France and at Carnegie Hall in New York. Shaw encouraged his development as a conductor and in 1996 he was invited by American Public Media’s ‘Performance Today’ to help celebrate Shaw’s eightieth birthday with an on-air tribute. In 1999, The New York Times named him as the late, great conductor’s potential heir. He has been Artistic Director of the Kansas City Chorale since 1988, the Phoenix Chorale since 1999, and of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus since 2008. He conducts workshops and clinics across the US; is a member of the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde; and served on the Board of Chorus America for seven years. Respected and renowned for his fresh and passionate interpretations of standards of the choral repertoire and for championing new music, Charles Bruffy has commissioned and premiered works by composers such as Jean Belmont, Ola Gjeilo, Matthew Harris, Libby Larsen, Zhou Long, Stephen Paulus, Stephen Sametz, Steven Stucky, Eric Whitacre, and Chen Yi. Under his supervision, the Roger Dean Company, a division of the Lorenz Corporation, publishes a choral series specializing in music for professional ensembles and sophisticated high school and college choirs. His eclectic discography includes seven recordings for Chandos Records. Four of these recordings have received a total of ten GRAMMY nominations and four  GRAMMY wins: 2008 GRAMMY for “Best Engineered Album, Classical” for Grechaninov: Passion Week featuring the Kansas City Chorale and Phoenix Chorale and the 2009 GRAMMY for “Best Small Ensemble Performance” for Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary featuring the Phoenix Chorale.

About the Kansas City Chorale: Founded in 1982, the Kansas City Chorale is a professional vocal ensemble that enriches local, national, and international communities through its dedication to excellence in performing music from diverse historical periods. Audiences around the globe have enjoyed the sounds of the Kansas City Chorale through recordings and radio broadcasts. Previously, the Chorale received an ASCAP Award for adventurous programming and appeared as part of the Library of Congress’s “I Hear America Singing” series. Under the artistic direction of Charles Bruffy since 1988, the Kansas City Chorale has six recordings on Nimbus Records, and was the first North American choir signed to that label. Their recording of Rackmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was praised by the New York Times as “…a project that must be rated a serious contender for record of the year… the chorus is everywhere remarkable.” In 2008, the Kansas City Chorale’s recording Grechaninov: Passion Week was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including “Best Classical Album,” “Best Choral Performance,” “Best Surround Sound Album,” and won a Grammy for “Best Engineered Album, Classical.” In 2009, the Kansas City Chorale’s recording Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards including “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Surround Sound Album.” Both recordings were part of a series of joint-recordings on the Chandos Record label with the Phoenix Chorale, also led by Charles Bruffy. Also in 2009, the Kansas City Chorale performed at the Incheon International Choral Festival in South Korea, and made its New York debut with the Phoenix Chorale in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The New York Times referred to the ‘refined sound’ and ‘elegant phrasing’ of the choirs, as well as their ‘vivid intensity,’ praising the performance for its ‘buoyant pulse and energetic finesse.’ KCChorale.org.

About René Clausen: For more than twenty-five years, René Clausen has been the conductor of the internationally renowned Concordia Choir of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota (a choir that, incidentally, has had only three conductors since its founding in the 1920s), where he also serves as artistic director of the Choir’s much lauded annual Concordia Christmas Concert, which is broadcast nationwide. Although he writes in all genres, Clausen is one of America’s most popular choral composers, creating music that is suited to all levels of ability and expertise. A California native, he received his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College and his graduate degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Another strong early influence was Leonard Bernstein’s televised “Young People’s Concerts,” a charming and imaginative educational series which, as related in an interview with Todd W. Guy, taught Clausen “compassion for humanity and pedagogical responsibility to the audience,” while awakening his own desire for self-expression and “the wish to be a conduit between serious music and the public.” A self-described neo-romanticist, Clausen has spent most of his working life with college students, expanding horizons, stretching boundaries, shepherding, refining, and illuminating – in short, being a conduit. ReneClausen.com

About Chandos Records: Chandos Records was founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens and quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading classical labels. Universally acclaimed for the excellence of its sound quality and having won four GRAMMY® Awards, Chandos has always been at the forefront of technical innovation including being the first record label to produce and release Compact Discs. Championing a rare and neglected repertoire, Chandos’ diverse catalogue contains over 2000 titles, from early music to contemporary, with composers from around the world. The independent, family run company, which produces and markets its recordings from its offices in Colchester, England, is distributed world-wide. Chandos.net

About the Phoenix Chorale: Arizona’s professional choir, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Phoenix Chorale is the first North American choir to record for Chandos Records, having made its first appearance on the label in 2004 with Shakespeare in Song. The choir’s first joint recording with the Kansas City Chorale, Eternal Rest, was released in 2005. The second, of Grechaninov’s Passion Week, was released in 2007 and received GRAMMY® nominations in four categories, including Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, and Best Surround Sound Album, and won a GRAMMY® Award for Best Engineered Album, Classical. In 2008, the Chorale released Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary which received GRAMMY® Award nominations in two categories, including Best Classical Album, winning a GRAMMY® for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Also in 2008, the choir’s third joint recording with the Kansas City Chorale, a disc of sacred choral works by Rheinberger, was released and received GRAMMY® nominations for Best Choral Performance and Best Surround Sound. Audiences around the globe have enjoyed the sounds of the Phoenix Chorale also through broadcasts, including American Public Media’s ‘Performance Today’. In 2009, the choir made its New York debut with the Kansas City Chorale (also under the direction of Charles Bruffy) in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The New York Times referred to the choirs’ ‘refined sound and elegant phrasing’ as well as ‘vivid intensity’, and praised the performance for its ‘buoyant pulse and energetic finesse’. Formerly known as the Phoenix Bach Choir, the Phoenix Chorale was founded in 1958 by Drs Hal and Timona Pittman. It originally focused on music of the Renaissance and baroque periods, but today is equally dedicated to the creation and performance of new music, which it intermingles with more traditional concert repertoire. The Phoenix Chorale is sponsored in part through grants and funding from Cathedral Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, the City of Phoenix’s Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Quail Distributing. www.phoenixchorale.org