Southeastern pianist Kenneth Boulton nominated for Grammy
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University classical pianist Kenneth Boulton has been nominated for a Grammy® Award in this year’s 50th anniversary competition.
An assistant professor of piano in the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts, Boulton is among five nominees in the category of best instrumental soloist performer (without orchestra) for his just released album “Louisiana – A Pianist’s Journey.”
“It’s gratifying, exciting and humbling to receive this kind of recognition,” said Boulton, a member of the Southeastern faculty for the past five years. “I had the privilege of working with superbly talented and creative people through each step of the process.”
“We’re proud of Dr. Boulton’s achievement; his recognition is well deserved,” said Southeastern President Randy Moffett. “It reflects the hard work and dedication to his artistic skills that he shares freely with his students.”
The project was made possible by a $50,000 ATLAS grant (Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars) made in 2006 by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The album – a set of two compact discs – includes a 32-page essay on Louisiana history and biographies of the eight composers.
“The significance of Dr. Boulton’s new recording is in documenting the inspiration New Orleans has had on the thinking of classical composers of piano music,” explained David Evenson, head of the Southeastern Department of Music and Dramatic Arts. “Ken’s research has rescued from obscurity some neglected compositions, which is especially important following the post-Katrina devastation of New Orleans. It’s good to see this beautifully performed and produced recording receive the recognition it deserves.”
“The music on this recording brings to life a vital, yet neglected aspect of Louisiana and New Orleans classical music tradition,” Boulton said. “This region has long captivated the imaginations of musicians and composers around the world, whether or not they had any personal contact with Louisiana. The music is fresh, lively and evocative.”
The compositions were written between 1847 and 1949. Included are “Louisiana Suite, Op. 97” by Walter Niemann, “Lousiana Nights, Valse Creole” by Roy Spaulding Stoughton, “New Orleans Miniatures” by John Parsons Beach, “Mississippi Suite” by Ferde Grofé, “La Savane, Ballade Creole, Op. 3” by New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk, “Creole Sketches, Op. 15” by Cedric Wilmont Lemont, “Sweet Louisiana” by Albert W. Ketelbey, and “Louisiana Story” by Virgil Thomson.
“It’s piano music that deserves to be played and heard,” he said. “It’s very emotional, rich and imaginative, and it’s not as ‘high brow’ as we generally think of classical music. Plus, it’s fun to play.”
Boulton – who also serves as director of Southeastern’s Community Music School – researched music and materials for the album at the Library of Congress and at Southeastern’s Sims Memorial Library. He said Sam Hyde and Keith Findley, director and assistant director respectively of the university’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, were particularly helpful in his research. He also recognized Emily Bond and Margaret Adelmann of the university’s office of Sponsored Research and Programs for their assistance in getting the state grant to produce the piece.
The album was produced by Cambria Master Recordings of Lomita, Calif. The music was recorded over three days at the world-class Skywalker Sound Studio in northern California on a Blüthner Concert Grand Piano. The set is available through the Cambria Web site www.Cambriamus.com.
Described by his students as “demanding, but encouraging and patient,” Boulton has seven other albums to his credit, most focused on American classical piano music.
A native of Seattle, he holds his bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and master’s and doctorate degrees in piano performance from University of Maryland at College Park.
The Grammy® Awards presentation will take place Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. Other nominees in the same category include Garrick Ohlsson, “Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 3;” Marc-André Hamelin, ”Haydn: Piano Sonatas;” Manuel Barrueco, “Solo Piazzolla; and Allison Brewster Franzetti, “20th Century Piano Sonatas.