New York Youth Symphony and Music Director Michael Repper in performance at Carnegie Hall. Photo courtesy of New York Youth Symphony.

“When the Grammy nominations for best orchestral performance were announced last month, several of the usual suspects made the cut,” writes Kalia Richardson in Friday’s (12/30) New York Times. “There was the august Berlin Philharmonic, for an album conducted by the composer John Williams, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of its maestro, Gustavo Dudamel.  But a newcomer also got a nod: the debut album of the New York Youth Symphony, a prestigious musical program for musicians between the ages of 12 and 22…. When live performance was halted in 2020 [due to the pandemic], and a Carnegie Hall concert was canceled, the ensemble decided to try to make an album … After the police murder of George Floyd and the social justice protests that spread throughout the nation that summer, the orchestra decided to rehearse and record works by Black composers, and selected pieces by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery and Valerie Coleman. ‘We need to promote music that deals with these issues,’ the orchestra’s music director, Michael Repper, said … The album … was produced by Judith Sherman, a 13-time Grammy winner, who is nominated as classical producer of the year. Many of the young players were proud to have simply recorded an album during the pandemic. They were stunned when it was recognized by the Grammys, amid such illustrious competition.”