Carnegie Mellon University

A French Nod

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Recording Wins Golden Diapason

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A recording released recently by Mode Records and featuring members of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic has won the "Diapason d'or" award in France. Also known as the "Golden Diapason," the award is given by France's Diapason magazine, which focuses on recordings of classical music.

"The collaboration between students and faculty, while making this world-class recording, showcases the professional quality of the performances we create here at Carnegie Mellon," said Noel Zahler, who heads the School of Music. "It distinguishes our faculty's ability to create a unique educational environment where studying and making recordings that are internationally recognized are ubiquitous."

The recording includes two pieces by American composer George Crumb — "Black Angels" and "Makrokosmos III."

Also featured are Carnegie Mellon's Grammy-nominated string quartet Cuarteto Latinoamericano; pianists Luz Manríquez and Walter Morales; and tenor Douglas Ahlstedt, all members of the School of Music faculty; and several students from Carnegie Mellon's percussion studio.

Chilean-born Izquierdo, who directs orchestral studies at the university and is internationally known, constructed his version of "Black Angels" to supplement the original instrumentation for string quartet with an entire string section from the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic.

During editing and mastering, Izquierdo collaborated extensively with recording engineers Riccardo Schulz and Harold Walls, both of whom are faculty in Carnegie Mellon's School of Music. The collaboration resulted in special effects being created and added to the recording, a sonic landscape that was lauded by many reviewers.

"This award confirms once again the high artistic quality that Carnegie Mellon University can obtain in a close collaboration of students, faculty and staff in the benefit of a great American composer," Izquierdo said.

In his review for Diapason, Nicolas Baron described the recording as "well constructed with very interesting source spatialization in both width and depth" adding that it is "very transparent with beautiful dynamic range."

Zahler noted, "There is no distinction made between modern masterpieces and the traditional repertoire at Carnegie Mellon; both are an integral part of the education we give our students."

Photographed: Juan Pablo Izquierdo

Related Links: School of Music  |  Mode Records