The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music shined last week as two faculty and three alumni received nominations for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be announced on February 15. Dean Shelly Berg, a pianist-arranger-composer and the Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music, garnered his fourth Grammy nomination in the “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals” category. Professor Gonzalo Rubalcaba and alumni Robert and Michael Rodriguez, better known as The Rodriguez Brothers, were each nominated in the “Best Latin Jazz Album” category. Alumna Maria Schneider earned two nominations—in the “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals” and “Large Jazz Ensemble Album” categories.
An accomplished pianist in both classical and jazz styles, Berg is a Steinway piano artist and recording artist for Concord Music Group and Universal Music Classics. He is also the host ofGeneration Next on Sirius XM satellite radio. Berg was previously the McCoy/Sample Professor of Jazz Studies at USC Thornton School of Music and past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). In 2000, the Los Angeles Times named him one of three “Educators for the Millennium.”
“It is an incredible honor to be nominated for another Grammy Award,” Berg said. “I am so proud to be joining Michael, Robert, and Gonzalo as representatives of the Frost School of Music. Being able to watch young artists grow and learn here at UM and take their career to incredible heights is a true honor.”
The Rodriguez Brothers, co-led by pianist/composer Robert and trumpeter/composer Michael, received their nomination for their album, Impromptu (Criss Cross Jazz). Inspired by their father, who is a drummer, they began musical training at a very young age and both received full scholarships to the University of Miami. Michael finished his bachelor’s degree at the New School for Jazz Studies in New York City and Robert, after receiving his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at UM, soon followed to New York. The brothers have individually worked as sidemen for artists such as Roy Haynes, Charlie Haden, Ray Barretto, Eddy Palmieri, David Sanchez, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Locke, Carla Bley, Bob Minzter, Harry Conick Jr., Christian Mcbirde, Richard Bona, Quincy Jones, and fellow nominee Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
Rubalcaba is a lecturer in the Frost School’s Department of Studio Music and Jazz and is a multi-Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist and composer. His latest nomination comes for his work on the albumSuite Caminos (5Passion). Born in post-revolutionary Havana and into a musical family rich in the traditions of the country’s artistic past, his music is inspired by his culture. He earned his degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1983 and was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985 while playing in the clubs and music halls of Havana. Soon after, he made his way to the U.S. and landed in South Florida in 1996. His illustrious career has included recording with his own groups for several major labels, including 11 albums for Blue Note, and also with jazz luminaries Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Charlie Haden, David Sanchez, and many others. He also has been nominated twice for Billboard’s Latin Jazz Album of the Year.
Schneider and her orchestra are nominated for their collaboration with David Bowie on “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” and for their 2015 album, The Thompson Fields. Schneider has multiple previous Grammy nominations and three wins to her credit in the classical and jazz genres. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed worldwide, and Schneider has commissioned works and performed as a guest conductor for more than 85 groups from over 30 countries.