December 4, 2003


Orchestra's first Grammy nomination for solo performance with orchestra
by Principal Percussion Niel DePonte with James DePreist conducting

One of the 46th Grammy nominations announced this morning was a first for the Oregon Symphony. The orchestra has issued 11 recordings since 1987, all of them with now Laureate Music Director James DePreist. But this is the Symphony’s first Grammy nomination.

The Oregon Symphony nomination falls in the Classical Field, in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra and is for the recording of Oregon composer Tomas Svoboda’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra conducted by DePreist and featuring Principal Percussion Niel DePonte.

“I am in total shock,” said DePonte. “The last time I felt emotion like this was when I won the job with the Oregon Symphony 26 years ago.”

“It’s very, very gratifying,” said DePreist from his new home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “The credit goes to Mary Tooze for making the recording possible, to Niel for his fine playing and to Tomas for writing such a wonderful piece. I am thrilled for everyone concerned.”

Tooze, who funded the recording, approached DePreist and asked him to consider recording Svoboda’s Marimba Concerto because she said it is a “good, solid piece and one you find out more about each time you hear it.” She calls it the real star of the all-Svoboda recording, which also features his Overture of the Season and his Symphony No. 1 (of Nature). “Of the millions of recordings that are made, to have this one, with unknown music, nominated is marvelous and well-deserved,” she said.

“Without Mary, none of this would have happened,” said Svoboda. “I am grateful to Jimmy and to Niel and I wish them good luck.”

The 2004 Grammy ceremony is scheduled in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2004.

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