The Houston Chamber Choir won the Grammy Award for “Best Choral Performance” for its Signum Records recording of “Duruflé: Complete Choral Works,” a performance of music by twentieth-century French composer Maurice Duruflé. Houston Chamber Choir founder and artistic director Robert Simpson conducted, with Ken Cowan on organ. Simpson accepted the award at the January 26 ceremony, along with his wife, Marianna Parnas-Simpson, a Houston Chamber Choir member.The recording was also part of a second Grammy: Blanton Alspaugh won for Producer of the Year, Classical, for his work on eight recordings, including Houston Chamber Choir’s Duruflé recording. The awards were given at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
“I see this as a win for the Chamber Choir, Houston’s vibrant artistic community, and the entire City,” says Simpson. “It is not uncommon for elite American choirs to draw their singers from many parts of the country. I am proud that we are all Houstonians, and that our name identifies us with this great City.” Additionally, Houston Chamber Choir acknowledges the contributions of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, including Robert Yekovich, Dean, and Gary Smith, Associate Dean.
Houston Chamber Choir continues to be recognized for its outstanding work. In 2018, the organization received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America, the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field. Most recently, the choir was invited to participate in the prestigious World Symposium on Choral Music 2020 to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, where twenty-four of the best choral ensembles in the world will perform. The festival, held every three years in different locations across the globe, received a record 179 entries this year. This is the first such invitation for the Houston Chamber Choir.