Classical Music Grammy Winners 2021

It’s that time of year again! The Grammys are upon us, and we can’t wait to see which classical musicians take home the coveted award.

Who will be crowned the Classical Music Grammy Winner for 2021? Tune in to find out!


The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards are being held on Sunday, January 31, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles. This year’s Grammy Awards will feature 86 categories across all genres of music.

The classical music categories are as follows:

Best Orchestral Performance:
for a distinguished performance by an orchestra without conductor

Best Opera Recording:
for a complete opera or an excerpt from an opera in one or more language versions

Best Choral Performance:
for a distinguished performance of choral music without instrumental accompaniment

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance:
for a distinguished performance of chamber music or small ensemble music without conductor, including works originally written for such ensembles

Best Classical Instrumental Solo:
for a distinguished solo instrumental classical recorded performance (including works originally composed for solo instrument(s) and recorded with orchestra(s))

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album:
for albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal solo recordingsllaborations between artists not previously working together in the same album are eligible under this category only if each artist appears on no more than 50% of the album’s total playing time.If an entire album consists of new collaborations between artists who have not previously worked together, then every artist must appear on no more than 50% of the total playing time (e.g., an album consisting solely – but not exclusively – of works performed by two artists, each appearing on no more than 70% of the total playing time, is eligible).All other track features such as featured or co-listed artists do not count towards the calculation under this rule and will be listed normally

Best Classical Compendium:
for albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded material which is not re-issues or compilations

Best Contemporary Classical Composition:
the award is given to the composer(s) of the work. In order to be eligible, the work must have been created within the last 25 years and Commissioned Music is eligible regardless of date

Best Orchestral Performance

This award goes to the conductor and the orchestra for an album of symphonic or concerto recordings. The conductor may be Thomas Dausgaard for Berg: Wozzeck (Seattle Symphony Orchestra); Gianandrea Noseda for Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 (London Symphony Orchestra); Michael Tilson Thomas for Siebente Sinfonie; Mahler: Symphony No. 7; Adagio from Symphony No. 10 (San Francisco Symphony); or John Adams for Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine (San Francisco Symphony).

Best Opera Recording

The best opera recording Grammy went to “Porgy and Bess,” which was a studio cast recording featuring bass-baritone Eric Owens, soprano Angel Blue and conductor David Robertson.

Best Choral Performance

The Best Choral Performance Grammy recognizes a conductor, ensemble or soloist(s) for the best vocal performance of a classical work.

This year’s nominees are:
– “Alleluia” by Eric Whitacre and Leonard Cohen, performed by The King’s Singers
– “Dan flooded” by Pascal Dusapin, performed by Natascha Metschke, soprano; Valer Sabadus, countertenor; Nathan Berg, bass-baritone; Arnold Schoenberg Choir; Vienna Philharmonic; Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor
– “Dirait-on” by Morten Lauridsen, performed by The Los Angeles Master Chorale; Grant Gershon, conductor
– “I ask you all (for love)” by Aaron Jay Kernis, performed by Conspirare; Craig Hella Johnson, conductor
– “Zigeunerlieder” (“Gypsy Songs”) by Johannes Brahms, performed by Julianne Baird, soprano; Andrew Garland, baritone; The Bach Choir of Bethlehem; Gregory Butler, conductor

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

The Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance Grammy Award was first presented in 1961 and is awarded to the performers (including any conductor) and the producer(s) of an instrumental or vocal chamber music/small ensemble album.

The 2021 Grammy nominees for this category are:
-Beethoven: The Late String Quartets by the A Far Cry chamber orchestra
-Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 20, Nos. 5 & 6 by the Aeolus Quartet
– Mozart: Clarinet Quintet; Oboe Quartet by Danzi Quintet
– Schumann: Piano Quintet; Fantasiestücke, Op. 88 by Leif Ove Andsnes and Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

The 2021 Grammy Awards were announced on March 14, and included several classical music categories. This year’s winners in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category are:

-Emanuel Ax, piano, for Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
-Leonidas Kavakos, violin, for Beethoven: Violin Concerto
– Yuja Wang, piano, for Bach: Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006
– Shekrzan Zubov, piano, for Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Jessye Norman, one of the most celebrated opera singers of the past 50 years, won a posthumous Grammy Award on Sunday for best classical solo vocal album.

The award was given for Ms. Norman’s final recording, “Song From the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt,” which came out in September. Ms. Norman died in September at 74.

Ms. Norman recorded the album with the composer Suzanne Farrin and the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who also appears on the album. It is based on the life of Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss explorer and writer who died in 1904, at 27, in a flash flood in North Africa.

The album also features Ms. Norman reciting excerpts from Eberhardt’s writing. In one track, “Lalla Mira O Comptesse d’Antioche (Lalla Mira or The Countess of Antioch),” she sings in Arabic; elsewhere she sings in English, French and Italian.

Best Classical Compendium

This year’s Best Classical Compendium Grammy goes to the late John Williams for his body of work on the Oscar-winning film soundtrack to “Schindler’s List.” Williams won five Oscars for his work on the movie, including Best Original Score and Best Original Song. The soundtrack to “Schindler’s List” was released in 1993 and won Williams his first Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance.

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

The 2021 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition goes to “Tectonics,” by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.


The 2021 Grammy Awards for classical music were announced on March 15. The big winner this year was Gustavo Dudamel, who took home three Grammys, including Best Orchestral Performance for his recording of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other winners included the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle, for their recording of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius; pianist Krystian Zimerman for his album of Chopin piano concertos; and soprano Renée Fleming for her album Distant Light.

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