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Mai Martinez

Better late than never . . . the video for the CBS 2 Chicago news segment is available here and a partial transcript of the segment is below.


(CBS) — When you think of Grammys, singers like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston might come to mind.

But as CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, one Chicago institution has won more than five dozen.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is known for its performances, but in the music world, it’s also known for its Grammy wins.

Over the past five decades, recordings by the CSO have garnered 62 Grammys.

A handful are stored in the Rosenthal Archives. According to CSO Archivist Frank Villella, the first was won in 1960.

“It was for the Orchestra’s recording of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste conducted by our then-music director Fritz Reiner,” Villella says.

Dozens more Grammys followed.

“The latest Grammys would be for our recording of Verdi’s Requiem,” explains Villella, referring to the two Grammys won in 2010. “These were our Music Director Riccardo Muti‘s first Grammy awards.”

With so many Grammys connected to the CSO, Villella says it’s hard to pick his favorite.

“A couple would come to mind. This recording featuring the Orchestra and the Chorus, Bartok’s The Wooden Prince and Cantata profana [conducted by Pierre Boulez]. This recording actually won four Grammy awards.”

While it may be difficult to pick a favorite recording or Grammy, Villella says when it comes to conductors the late Sir Georg Solti has no competition.

“He won 31 Grammys, which is more than anyone else. The two people that come right after him are Quincy Jones and Alison Krauss, who each have 27 Grammys.”

“It makes us all here feel tremendously proud,” Villella says.

If you’re interested in taking a tour of the Rosenthal Archives call the CSO at (312) 294-3000.

CSO Grammy Awards 1

This year’s Grammy Awards telecast is Sunday evening, February 10, on CBS. Following the telecast, CBS 2 Chicago will be running a brief feature on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s extensive history with the awards. Weekend co-anchor Mai Martinez visited the Rosenthal Archives earlier this week and the segment was taped in the vault, including an interview with yours truly. A few images of the visit and taping are included here.

CSO Grammy Awards 2

Recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have earned sixty-two Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. A complete list of those recordings and awards can be found here. And, of course, the CSO’s eighth music director, Sir Georg Solti, is still the all-time Grammy champ, with thirty-one awards to his credit.

CSO Grammy Awards 3

CSO Grammy Awards 4

the vault

Theodore Thomas


The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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