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MSU composer up for a Grammy with “love letter” to symphony orchestra


The 35-minute, four-movement concerto by Michigan State University associate professor of composition Zhou Tiancaught the ear of The Recording Academy, and it led to a Grammy nomination for him. 

The Grammy awards are this coming Sunday. Tian has been nominated in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition. He joined Stateside to share the unique features of his concerto and the love of symphony that the piece grew from. 


Listen above for the full conversation, or check highlights below.


On creating a concerto to be a "love letter" to the symphony


"As a composer, I've always been fascinated by this unique art form known as the symphony orchestra, because here we have an organization that brings people together by allowing some 80-plus people, musicians, to show their musicianship, to share their passion of music making, and to sit in the same room, playing together — sometimes even taking the same breath together  in order to form a unified, artistic expression. And this is all done without a single word and without any technology. Well, there's nothing quite like it in the world right now," he said.


On his excitement to attend the Grammys


"[My students] are very, very excited," he said. "They kept asking, 'Are you going?' Because it's such a phenomenal event, and I told them my high hopes, besides my category, is to mingle with Jay-Z and to hopefully get a selfie with Cardi B."


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