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Colchester: Double Grammy win for classical music record label Chandos

06:00 18 February 2013

Chandos Records managing director, Ralph Couzens, Grammy winner for best choral performance and best engineered classical album

Chandos Records managing director, Ralph Couzens, Grammy winner for best choral performance and best engineered classical album


HE should have been basking in the glory of a double win at the Grammy awards, soaking up the plaudits from the gathered glitterati in Los Angeles.

But instead Ralph Couzens, managing director of Colchester-based classical music record label Chandos Records, discovered his impressive brace of gongs via text message in a Glasgow hotel room.

“I had just returned to my room after finishing a late recording session with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra,” he said.

“I went back to my hotel room and was sat on my bed and catching up on my emails. I had actually sort of forgotten it was going on. It had slipped my mind, really.

“And when the first text came through it completely took me by surprise – I couldn’t believe it.”

Mr Couzens had asked his American distributor Jim Selby, CEO of Naxos of America, to represent the company at the Staples Center in Los Angeles – and keep him abreast of any developments.

“Then I got another text saying it was not just one Grammy – but two. To do the double is very rare; it’s quite special. I was absolutely thrilled,” Mr Couzens, of West Bergholt, said.

“Within minutes it was everywhere on Facebook and Twitter. Everyone was sending me messages of congratulations – I slept well that night.”

Life and Breath, a disc of choral works by René Clausen performed by the Kansas City Chorale and conducted by Charles Bruffy, scooped the two Grammys.

It won Best Engineered Album and Best Choral Performance in the Classical category.

Mr Couzens said he was invited to attend the ceremony but decided against paying hundreds of pounds for a seat again after attending five years ago. “It is a very expensive project,” he said. “You have to pay for the flight, the accommodation, the seat and all the other expenses.

“It is one of those things that you just want to experience the once – and I was not going to pay the $600 for a seat again.

“But it is a massive spectacle. There are actually two ceremonies, with the classical one in the afternoon and the big pop one, shown on TV, in the evening – but you get to go to both.”

Mr Couzens and his company are now the proud owners of four Grammys after Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel in 2008, and Britten: Peter Grimes in 1997, won Best Opera Recording awards.

Mr Bruffy, conductor for this year’s Grammy-award winning record, said: “This is such an honour for us. It is not common for an unaccompanied choral ensemble to win the Grammy for choral performance. We share this accolade with our partners. We certainly wouldn’t be holding the Grammy without their incredible work, and faith in this album.”

Mr Couzens added: “We are planning to repeat our success for next year. We are on a roll now – so let’s do some more.”


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