Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Saturday, January 30, 2010

U. of U. professor, living legend share dreams of a first Grammy

Music » Kirsten Gunlogson delighted by nomination -- not unlike Liza Minnelli.

By David Burger
The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 01/29/2010 11:14:19 AM MST

It doesn't matter if you are a Salt Lake City resident or a legend who has won nearly every award conceivable except for a Grammy -- everyone wants to walk on stage and to receive a small, gilded gramophone statuette.
Among the many nominated musicians seeking their first Grammy award include Kirsten Gunlogson, an assistant professor at the University of Utah's School of Music, and Liza Minnelli.
Yes, the Liza Minnelli.
"Honey, I'm so stunned to have a nomination," said Minnelli in a Tribune interview, describing herself as "a modern vaudevillian."
In 1989, Minnelli received the Living Legend Grammy Award in recognition of her body of work in the music industry, but she has never won a Grammy for an singular performance or album.
But this year, Minnelli was honored with a nomination for "Liza's At The Palace," a recording from her Tony Award-winning Broadway engagement.
Nominated in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Category, the two-CD set captures the Academy Award-winning actress singing her signature hits and personal favorites, followed by a rousing tribute to the groundbreaking late-1940s nightclub act of Kay Thompson.
"Liza's At The Palace" opened on December 3, 2008, and played 22 performances through January 4, 2009, winning a Tony Award for Best Theatrical Event in 2009.
The album was a labor of love for Minnelli, who wanted to pay tribute to Thompson, her godmother.

"I saw her nightclub act when I was two," Minnelli said. "I was sitting on my mother's lap with my father."
Thompson is best known as the author of the Eloise children's books, but Minnelli remembers her as a nurturing inspiration in her life whose revolutionary nightclub act brought the vaudeville tradition into the 20th century. "She was Hollywood's underground legend," Minnelli said, but few recordings of Thompson's act exist.
So, supported by a quartet of dynamic singer and dancers standing in for the original Williams Brothers, on the album Minnelli performed songs from Thompson's famous act, including "I Love a Violin," "Clap Yo' Hands," "Jubilee Time," and "Hello Hello." When the album was recorded, it preserved Thompson's nightclub material forever. "I'm an old vaudevillian," Minnelli said. "I'm a modern vaudevillian."
Gunlogson, the U. professor, is just as excited to be nominated for her first Grammy. The assistant professor of voice is nominated in the category of Best Classical Album for her mezzo-soprano role in the Nashville Symphony Orchestra's opera recording of "Ravel: L'Enfant Et Les Sortilèges."
"I was pretty surprised," said Gunlogson, because her performance has been recorded in the winter of 2007, but the album wasn't released until this March.
Like many in-demand musicians, she has since moved on to other projects, but enjoyed a glass of wine when she learned the news.
She is in her fourth year teaching at the U., which she termed "a wonderful institution."
Born and raised in Alaska, Gunlogson spent most of her life living out a suitcase, performing all over the world, including stints with the Michigan Opera Theatre, Indianapolis Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Tulsa Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Toledo Opera, Nashville Opera, Kentucky Opera, Sarasota Opera and Fresno Grand Opera. Recently, she performed at Carnegie Hall as the alto soloist in Mozart's "Vesperae Solennes De Confessore" and Haydn's "Theresienmesse," in addition to making her debut with Utah Symphony Utah Opera as Tessa in "The Gondoliers."
Because Gunlogson wanted to put down some roots, she applied for the vocal teaching opening at the University of Utah five years ago.
"The College of Fine Arts is very proud of Ms. Gunlogson and her achievements with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra," said Raymond Tymas-Jones, dean of the U.'s College of Fine Arts. "It is a testament to the School of Music as it continues to bring global recognition to the University of Utah."

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