Grammy Awards: Two French Women Awarded

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Danaë Xanthe Vlasse received a Grammy on Sunday for her album, Mythologies, which won in the category of “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.” Inspired by ancient Greece, it was co-produced by Emilio Miller and composed entirely by the French pianist. Violist Virginie d’Avezac de Castéra appears on the track “La Complainte d’Euterpe,” which imagines the suffering of the Greek muse in the face of the social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Xanthe Vlasse accompanies her on piano and lyre on this track.

“Our nomination falls under a category that recognizes vocalists,” the pianist explains. “That’s why the names of the sopranos – Sangeeta Kaur and Hila Plitmann – appear first. The musicians who participated in the project are individually named but are not officially laureates. This does not detract from the pride of d’Avezac de Castéra, who has had great pleasure, she says, of contributing to “a living chamber music album that tells a story and takes you on a journey through time.”Most of the recordings were made between the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, during the pandemic,” recalls Xanthe Vlasse. And not only in Los Angeles, where the two Frenchwomen live: “our flutist was in Australia, and my co-producer in Argentina,” she says. D’Avezac de Castéra, for example, recorded in her living room, and congratulated “the sound engineer for the magic of his work,” during the ceremony.

On stage, Xanthe Vlasse thanked the Recording Academy, her family, friends and colleagues, and saluted “all the extraordinary nominees in this category. Composing music that seeks to honor tradition is such an incredible experience,” she said. The pianist hopes to “work on chamber operas and continue to explore the theme of Greek mythology” to honor her paternal roots – after celebrating her French heritage with Poème, a previous collaborative project. She says she “can’t wait to get back on stage and celebrate this award by [focusing] on composing and performing. I dream of touring the U.S., but raising the money is another matter. However, several opportunities have already presented themselves since the ceremony.

She will most likely team up again with Sangeeta Kaur, Hila Plitmann and Virginie d’Avezac de Castéra, the friend and distant cousin she met in California just four years ago during a series of private concerts in Venice. Always there “when Xanthe Vlasse needs a viola player or advice on strings for her compositions,” the musician, d’Avezac de Castéra, a member of multiple orchestras and ensembles, still marvels at what she has “had the chance to do and experience musically here in six years.” Now also a teacher and hypnotherapist, she helps many artists manage their stage fright and improve their performance.

This article was originally published by French Morning in French. 

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