Album cover of Joseph Banowetz's Grammy-nominated recording.
A Grammy nomination for a piano professor is bringing recognition to the once-lost music of Paul Kletzki, a Polish-Jewish composer whose work was buried during the Holocaust.
Joseph Banowetz, professor of music, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra for recording Kletzki's Piano Concerto in D Minor, Op. 22, with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra with Thomas Sanderling conducting. The album's producers Marina A. Ledin and Victor Ledin earned nominations for Classical Producer of the Year.
There were five nominees, and the category winner - Mitsuko Ochida with the Cleveland Orchestra for a recording of Mozart Piano Concertos No. 23 and 24 - was announced the afternoon of Feb. 13 in Los Angeles during online pre-telecast ceremonies. The televised 53rd annual Grammy awards ceremony was broadcast on CBS, also Feb. 13.
The Lost Composers
Kletzki's music came to life with the help of UNT's Lost Composers Project which aims to recover the music of composers whose works were obscured as a result of the Holocaust.
Kletzki's concerto existed as a two-piano version that was found in a buried trunk and also survived in a number of libraries. But the orchestral version couldn't be found, said Timothy Jackson, professor of music theory, who leads the project.
So Jackson asked then-doctoral student John Norine to arrange the orchestral version, using the second piano part as the basis for the orchestral score. The resulting recording brought Grammy recognition that Jackson hopes will stir more interest in the Lost Composers Project.
Recognition for great composers
"There is some really great music buried in this repertoire," Jackson said. "These composers were considered to be the best in Germany at the time. But for me, it is an issue of justice — of moral and artistic justice. I think that they deserve a hearing, which they were denied."
And Jackson still holds hope that Kletzki's original orchestral score may surface.
"I suspect there were manuscript parts copied by hand that are sitting on some shelf somewhere or destroyed in the bombing," Jackson said. "But I haven't given up hope of finding them."
(Banowetz photo on home page courtesy of the Denton Record Chronicle/Al Key.)