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Three with Eastman School of Music ties win Grammys

Renee Fleming
Andrew Eccles
Renee Fleming won her fifth Grammy on Sunday.

This year’s Grammy winners with Eastman School of Music connections came down to the usual suspects: Renée Fleming, Kevin Puts and Bob Ludwig.

Sunday’s ceremony was notable for Beyoncé breaking the record for most Grammy wins with her 32nd statue. She won four awards Sunday, including for “Renaissance” in the Best Dance/Electronic Album category.

Likewise, two of the winners with Eastman ties have won multiple Grammys over the years as well.

Ludwig, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastman, won for his work as mastering engineer on the 20th anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of the Wilco album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” The win for Best Historical Album was his 13th Grammy.

Fleming won for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: “Voice of Nature — The Anthropocene.” It was the fifth Grammy for Fleming, who holds a 1983 master of music degree from Eastman, as well as a 2011 honorary degree.

Puts won for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition: “Contact.” Puts is a 1994 Eastman grad, with a doctor of musical arts degree in 1999. While this was his first Grammy win, Puts’ opera “Silent Night” won a Pulitzer Prize for music in 2012.

In an interesting link, Fleming and Puts collaborated last March on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s debut of Puts’ opera “The Hours,” based on the novel by Michael Cunningham that was adapted into the 2002 Oscar-winning film. “The Hours” was also presented on the Metropolitan Opera stage with Fleming in November.

A handful of other musicians with Eastman ties were nominated, including drummer and Rochester native Steve Gadd, from the class of 1968, for his work on the album “Center Stage” as “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.”

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.