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AHS graduate nominated for Grammy
Arlington High School 1980 graduate Kenneth Boulton, a classical pianist who performed in Arlington during the grand opening celebration of the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in June of this year, has been nominated for a Grammy Award in this years 50th anniversary competition.
The son of George and Annalee Boulton, of Flowers by George in Arlington, Boulton has been assistant professor of piano in the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts at Southeastern Louisiana University for the past five years.
Boulton is one of five nominees in the category of best instrumental soloist performer without orchestra for his just-released album, Louisiana A Pianists Journey.
Its gratifying, exciting and humbling to receive this kind of recognition, Boulton said.
I had the privilege of working with superbly talented and creative people through each step of the process.
The collection features some neglected compositions that document the effect of New Orleans and Louisiana on classical composers of piano music, said the head of the Southeastern Department of Music and Dramatic Arts, David Evenson.
Kens research has rescued from obscurity some neglected compositions, which is especially important following the post-Katrina devastation of New Orleans. Its good to see this beautifully performed and produced recording receive the recognition it deserves.
The album a set of two compact discs includes a 32-page essay on Louisiana history and biographies of the eight composers.
Were proud of Dr. Boultons achievement. His recognition is well deserved, said Southeastern President Randy Moffett.
It reflects the hard work and dedication to his artistic skills that he shares freely with his students.
Boulton believes that the compositions in the collection, written between 1847 and 1949, bring to life a vital, yet neglected, aspect of Louisianas and New Orleans classical music tradition.
This region has long captivated the imaginations of musicians and composers around the world, whether or not they had any personal contact with Louisiana. The music is fresh, lively and evocative, Boulton said.
The album includes Louisiana Suite, Op. 97 by Walter Niemann, Lousiana Nights, Valse Creole by Roy Spaulding Stoughton, New Orleans Miniatures by John Parsons Beach, Mississippi Suite by Ferde Grofe, La Savane, Ballade Creole, Op. 3 by New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Creole Sketches, Op. 15 by Cedric Wilmont Lemont, Sweet Louisiana by Albert W. Ketelbey, and Louisiana Story by Virgil Thomson.
Its piano music that deserves to be played and heard. Its very emotional, rich and imaginative, and its not as high brow as we generally think of classical music. Plus, its fun to play, Boulton said.
Also director of Southeasterns Community Music School, Boulton researched the music and materials for the album at the Library of Congress and at Southeasterns Sims Memorial Library.
He said Sam Hyde and Keith Findley, director and assistant director respectively of the universitys Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, were particularly helpful in his research.
Boulton also recognized Emily Bond and Margaret Adelmann of the universitys office of Sponsored Research and Programs for their assistance in getting the $50,000 ATLAS grant (Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars) which was issued in 2006 by the Louisiana Board of Regents.
The album was produced by Cambria Master Recordings of Lomita, Calif.
The music was recorded over three days at the world-class Skywalker Sound Studio in Northern California on a Bluethner Concert Grand Piano. The set is available through the Cambria Web site www.Cambriamus.com.
Described by his students as demanding, but encouraging and patient, Boulton has seven other albums to his credit, most focused on American classical piano music.
Boulton earned his bachelors degree from Washington State University and masters and doctorate degrees in piano performance from University of Maryland at College Park.
The Grammy Awards presentation will take place Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.
Other nominees in the same category include Garrick Ohlsson, Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 3; Marc-Andre Hamelin, Haydn: Piano Sonatas; Manuel Barrueco, Solo Piazzolla; and Allison Brewster Franzetti, 20th Century Piano Sonatas.
Boultons brother, David Boulton, owner of Flowers by George, in Arlington, said the family heard the news first by e-mail last week.
Ken sent a news clip from his local TV station in Hammond, David Boulton said.
It was surprisingly long, a real feel-good story. He said they are already trying to convince George and Annalee to go to the awards ceremony in L.A.
Its all very exciting, David Boulton said.