Emerson Quartet Leads With Two Grammys

Pianist Marc André Hamelin performs during ceremony.

The Emerson Quartet was the big classical winner at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards, winning for both Classical Album of the Year and Best Chamber Music Performance.

The quartet won for its complete cycle of the Dimitri Shostakovich String Quartets, a five-CD effort encompassing all 15 quartets. The Emerson Quartet became the first major U.S. quartet to attempt this massive project, following in the footsteps of the famed Borodin Quartet of Russia and the Fitzwilliam Quartet of England.

In the Best Orchestral Performance category, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic received the award for their rendition of the Symphony #10 by Gustav Mahler. The symphony was left incomplete at the time of Mahler's death in 1911, but it was reconstructed by musicologist Deryck Cooke in 1960.

Canadian pianist Marc André Hamelin performed at the awards show, using Godowsky's arrangement of Chopin's Etude in C Major. Hamelin released an album that contained all of Godowsky's arrangements, a testament to his outstanding technique at the piano.

Country fiddler Mark O'Conner got the nod for Best Classical Crossover Album, with Appalachian Journey, featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Edgar Meyer. Backstage at the Grammys, O'Conner remarked, "I quit country sessions 10 years ago, so I could do this. It really took all my concentration and effort."

A rare recording of Ferruccio Busoni's Doktor Faust by conductor Kent Nagano and the Lyon Opera Orchestra won for Best Opera Recording. Mezzo-soprano star Cecilia Bartoli grabbed the Grammy for her collection of Vivaldi arias in the Best Classical Voice Album category. Conductor Helmut Rilling and the Oregon Bach festival received the Grammy for Best Choral Performance for their rendition of Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo.

Violinist Joshua Bell was awarded the Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance for his interpretation of Nicholas Maw's Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance went to guitarist Sharon Isbin, for her Dreams of a World, featuring the works of Antonio Ruiz-Pipó. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra won for Best Small Ensemble Performance with their collection of Stravinsky miniatures.

Rounding out the performance category, George Crumb's Star Child received the Grammy for best Classical Contemporary Composition, featuring performances by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.