Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition

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Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition
Awarded for quality classical contemporary compositions
Country United States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1961
Last awarded 2019
Currently held by Jennifer Higdon for Harp Concerto

The Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition was first awarded in 1961. This award was not presented from 1967 to 1984.

The award has had several minor name changes:

  • From 1961 to 1962 the award was known as Best Contemporary Classical Composition
  • In 1963 it was awarded as Best Contemporary Composition
  • In 1965 it was awarded as Best Composition by a Contemporary Composer
  • In 1966 and 1964 it was awarded as Best Composition by a Contemporary Classical Composer
  • In 1985 it was awarded as Best New Classical Composition
  • From 1986 to 1994 it was again awarded as Best Contemporary Composition
  • From 1995 to 2011 it was again awarded as Best Classical Contemporary Composition
  • In 2012 the category was renamed into Best Contemporary Classical Composition

The Grammy is awarded to the composer(s) of a classical piece composed in the last 25 years, and released for the first time during the eligibility year. The performing artist, orchestra, ensemble, etc., do not receive a Grammy (except if the performer is also the composer). From 2009 onwards, if the award goes to an opera composition, both the composer and the librettist (if applicable) receive the Grammy.

Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were presented, for works released in the previous year.



  • 2019: Aaron Jay Kernis for Violin Concerto, performed by James Ehnes (soloist), Ludovic Morlot (conductor) & the Seattle Symphony
    • Nominees:
      • Mason Bates (composer) and Mark Campbell (librettist) for The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, performed by Michael Christie (conductor), Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edward Parks, Jessica E. Jones & the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra
      • Du Yun for Air Glow, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble
      • Jake Heggie (composer) and Terrence McNally (librettist) for Great Scott, performed by Patrick Summers, Manuel Palazzo, Mark Hancock, Michael Mayes, Rodell Rosel, Kevin Burdette, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn, Frederica von Stade, Ailyn Pérez, Joyce DiDonato, and the Dallas Opera Chorus & Orchestra
      • Missy Mazzoli for Vespers for Violin, performed by Olivia de Prato
  • 2018: Jennifer Higdon for Viola Concerto, performed by Roberto Diaz, Giancarlo Geurrero, & the Nashville Symphony
    • Nominees:
      • Zhou Tian for Concerto for Orchestra, performed by Louis Langrée & the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
      • Adam Schoenberg for Picture Studies, performed by Michael Stern & the Kansas City Symphony
      • Tigran Mansurian for Requiem, performed by Alexander Liebreich, Florian Helgath, the RIAS Kammerchor, & the Münchener Kammerorchester
      • Richard Danielpour for Songs of Solitude, performed by Thomas Hampson, Giancarlo Guerrero, & the Nashville Symphony





Multiple winners and nominees


  1. ^ "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of nominees". Los Angeles Times. December 7, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Oteri, Frank J. (December 7, 2015). "About Those 2016 Grammy Nominations". NewMusicBox. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  3. ^ "Grammys 2015: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. February 8, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Paget, Clive (February 13, 2013). "Classical Grammy Awards 2013". Limelight. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Ng, David (February 13, 2011). "Grammy Awards: Daugherty's 'Metropolis Symphony' and Verdi's 'Requiem' top classical Grammy awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  6. ^ U-M’s Grammy winners|Arts & Culture
  7. ^ Dunkle, David N. (February 2, 2010). "Philadelphia composer Jennifer Higdon scores a Grammy". The Patriot-News. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "The 1995 Grammy Winners". The New York Times. March 3, 1995. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Cariaga, Daniel (March 2, 1994). "The 36th Annual Grammy Awards : Classical : Dual Awards for Chicago Symphony". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  10. ^ Award Winners for Best Classical Contemporary Composition|
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