The nominations for the year's most prestigious music awards were an unexpected pleasant surprise for Russia, which has not been in the centre of the global musical elite's attention. A whole range of great Russian names have been nominated for the 2003 Grammys: Yuri Bashmet, Valery Gergiyev, as well as the unheard of in Russia, but long popular in their adopted homeland of the US, country group Bering Straits.
The choir and orchestra of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky theatre are up for awards in two categories, for choral work and modern classical music.
These two nominations comes a reward for the tireless conductor, Valery Gergiyev, whose taste and depth in terms of musical perception are faultless and convincing, while one could call Sofi Gubaidullina's singing perfection.
As distinct from the Bolshoi Theatre, the Mariinsky has maintained the spirit of creative seeking and utter mastery. The ballet company has succeeded in returning Russian ballet to the times of Petipas and Fokin, while the opera troupe's fresh and beautiful voices are in a class of their own. Finally, the theatre if not afraid to take risks: last year's The Nutcracker was entrusted to the brilliant artist Mikhail Shemyakin, who was the only person in the country who could have pulled the experiment off.
Mstislav Rostropovitch has been nominated for the "best classical music recording" for his work as conductor with the London Symphonic Orchestra on Shostakovitch's Eleventh Symphony.
Celebrated violinist Yuri Bashmet has been nominated in the "instrumental solo with orchestra" category for his performance of Georgian maestro Giya Kancheli's work. Here the music is on a par with the performer, and Kancheli demands virtuosity from the musicians, as well as speed and tension vis a vis Paganini. Bashmet successfully copes with this musical pressure.
Russia has won classical Grammys before. Last year, the ensemble of violinist Gidon Kremer won an award.
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