Grammy Award nominations came out Nov. 28 and one of them, it turns out, was for a Baylor University choral director.
Brian A. Schmidt, associate professor of choral music and conductor of the A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers, led the South Dakota Chorale in the recording "Tyberg: Masses" which secured four Grammy nominations, including Best Choral Performance.
Schmidt, who joined the Baylor music faculty this fall, created the South Dakota Chorale in 2009 and led it in recording two overlooked Catholic masses by 20th century Austrian composer Marcel Tyberg.
Tyberg was a practicing Catholic and lived in northeastern Italy for much of his life, but he had one-sixteenth Jewish heritage. When the Germans occupied that part of Italy in 1943, he was arrested as a Jew and sent to the Auschwitz death camp where he died in 1944.
Before his arrest, however, Tyberg had handed over many of his compositions to a doctor friend, whose son Enrico Mihich, a Tyberg student, later made his way to the United States with the manuscripts.
Mihich died in 2016, but worked to make more aware of Tyberg and his music. Tyberg's instrumental compositions have drawn some attention over the last decade or so, but his masses were relatively unknown until Schmidt's work with them.
He and his chorale recorded and released "Tyberg: Masses" last year (Schmidt talks about the project here). In addition to the nomination for Best Choral Performance, the album also received nominations for Best Engineered Album-Classical, Best Surround Sound and Producer of the Year — Classical (for producer Blanton Alspaugh).
Grammy Award winners will be announced Jan. 28, 2018.