The JUNOs are awarded annually to Canadian musical artists in celebration of their artistic achievements in all aspects of music, and to raise public awareness of Canadian music and musicians. First named the Gold Leaf Awards in 1970, they quickly took the name of Pierre Juneau, the first head of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission).
When the newest list of JUNO nominees was released on January 29, 2019, the NAC Orchestra was very proud to see several nominations connected to its album New Worlds, released in March 2018, conducted by Alexander Shelley. The album includes Ana Sokolović’s Golden slumbers kiss your eyes… and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”.
Firstly, the album itself, with themes of migration and crossing borders, was nominated for Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble. What a terrific recognition not only of the NAC Orchestra and of Alexander Shelley, but also of the featured choirs prepared by chorus master Laurence Ewashko, of Canadian-Korean countertenor David DQ Lee, and of contemporary Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolović who teaches at the Université de Montréal.
But that wasn’t all:
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes... was also nominated for Classical Composition of the Year – a double honour for NAC Award Composer Ana Sokolović. Speaking of this work, commissioned to salute NAC’s founding conductor Mario Bernardi, the composer explains: “This piece is structured like a travel diary describing different countries and different times . . . imaginary countries we visit most often (most likely) in our dreams, and strongly influenced by the theme of childhood.”
The 2018 JUNO for Classical Composition of the Year was awarded to Jocelyn Morlock for My Name Is Amanda Todd, also commissioned and recorded by the NAC Orchestra as part of Life Reflected.
The album New Worlds on the Analekta label is available for purchase and for listening through music streaming and download services.