Grammy Winners Have UMKC Connections

eighth blackbird, the UMKC Conservatory's Barr Laureate Ensemble, performed Conservatory Composition students' works in a joint performance, with Conservatory students, during the eighth blackbird residency. eighth blackbird recently won a Grammy.

Several of this year’s Grammy winners are well connected to the University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Conservatory alum Charles Bruffy, (MM vocal performance) artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale, accepted two Grammys for the Kansas City Chorale’s most recent recording Life & Breath—Choral Works by Rene Clausen, for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical. Bruffy is also a former UMKC Alumni Achievement Awardee. Several Conservatory alumni perform with the group, including Katie Crawford (MM, vocal performance), Paula Brekken (BME), Julia Scozzafava, (MM vocal performance), Cassaundra Sutherland (BME), Pamela Williamson (BME, MME); Bryan Taylor (MM, choral conducting), and Sarah Tannehill Anderson, (MM, Vocal Performance).

eighth blackbird won for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Meanwhile. The ensemble is the Conservatory’s Barr Institute Laureate Ensemble. Every three years, the Barr Advisory Board selects a major figure in American music as the Barr Institute Laureate. Laureates visit the UMKC campus several times each year during their tenure to participate in symposia, performances of their work, master classes and lessons, and presentations to public schools and other organizations. This past fall, eighth blackbird performed with Conservatory students on campus and with the Kansas City Symphony.

Stephen Hartke, former Barr Institute Laureate, won for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Meanwhile – Incidental Music To Imaginary Puppet Plays. 

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2013. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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