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Professor nominated for Grammis Award

Posted on December 16, 2016

In Sweden, the Grammis Awards are considered to be the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards in the U.S. Gregory Maytan, associate professor of violin at Grand Valley, recently received a nomination for a Grammis Award in the "Classical CD of the Year" category.

Maytan's CD, "Amanda Maier Volume 1," is one of five albums competing in the category.

"It was hard to believe at first that I had been nominated," said Maytan. "It made me think that Amanda Maier's music is really getting the attention it deserves."

Amanda Maier (1853-94) is best known for becoming the first woman to graduate with degrees in violin, piano and music history from what is today known as the Royal University of Music in Stockholm. She composed and premiered several major pieces during her brief career and toured as a violinist before marrying her violin teacher's son, Julius Röntgen. Maier's talents attracted the attention of famous composers, such as Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg. She died at the age of 41 from tuberculosis, and left behind only a small number of works.

Maytan's love for Maier's musical expertise began when he was first introduced to her work at the age of 14 after one of his teachers instructed him to learn one of Maier's sonatas. 

"I had never heard of Maier before, and I soon discovered that there was only one recording available of her work," Maytan recalled. "Many years later when I recorded my first CD, 'Scandinavia,' I decided to feature that same sonata. After it received a positive, and somewhat unexpected, response, I wanted to record more of her works."

Maytan originally approached dB Productions, a Swedish record company, with the idea of recording a long forgotten violin concerto by Maier while he was in Sweden on sabbatical. The company suggested adding other 19th century chamber music that had never been commercially released before. Recording sessions for the album began in September 2015 and concluded in June.

"I found that these works had considerable musical merit, and deserved to be heard by a wider audience," said Maytan. "It is not often one comes across great music from the 19th century that is completely unknown. In a way, recording this CD feels like my small contribution to the world of music."

The album features three pieces: the world premiere of Maier's violin concerto, a piano quartet, and a set of dances. Maytan collaborated with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra to record the violin concerto, and Grammis Award-winning pianist Ann-Sofi Klingberg for the chamber pieces.

The Grammis Award winners will be announced February 28 during the ceremony in the Stockholm Concert Hall.