Bellarmine Music Department faculty react to the 'surreal' honor of winning a Grammy Award

February 12, 2024

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Chris Kincaid, you’ve just won a Grammy Award! Where will you display it?
“Earlier this year I joked that if I won, I’d put it on a chain and wear it around my neck everywhere I go,” said Kincaid, an adjunct instructor in the Music Department.
Kincaid served as audio engineer for The American Project, the first Grammy Award-winning album in the Louisville Orchestra’s 87-year history. Conductor Teddy Abrams wrote the Piano Concerto at the heart of The American Project for world-renowned pianist Yuja Wang, a classmate of his at the Curtis Institute of Music. Abrams accepted the Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo on Feb. 4 in Los Angeles.
Six other Bellarmine music faculty—assistant professor Stacy Simpson (trumpet) and adjunct instructors Jon Mueller (viola), Allison Olsen (cello), Karl Olsen (bass), Terry O’Mahoney (drums) and Craig Wagner ’93 (guitar)—and former full-time instructor Dave Clark (saxophone) performed with the Louisville Orchestra on The American Project, but only Kincaid will receive a Grammy statuette.
Quips aside, he actually plans to display the award in his studio. 
“As an audio engineer, I spend most of my time, like many people do, staring at a computer screen all day,” he said. “Behind me, though, is all the fun stuff that inspires my work: keyboards, synthesizers, books and records. That’s where it’s going to sit: on top of an old keyboard, nestled in with some of my favorite things.” 
Louisville Orchestra Conductor Teddy Abrams accepts the Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo on Feb. 4, 2024, in Los Angeles.AwardsKincaid said he was honored to work on the project with Abrams, Wang, his Bellarmine colleagues and the other orchestra musicians, producer David Frost, the orchestra staff and the crew at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, where the recording was made. It was released on the Deutsche Grammaphon label, widely considered the premiere classical music label in the world.
“There are so many moving parts to a project like this, and to pull it off so successfully is a testament to the hard work and care that every single person puts into it,” he said. “I’ll also say how fortunate I am to have been in the privileged position to even get this opportunity. To me, recording music is a dream job. I’m inspired daily by the musicians around me.”
Terry O’Mahoney, Bellarmine’s percussion and drum set instructor, said being a part of the award-winning album was an honor. “I hope it helps to bring more attention to the amazing musical talents we have here in Louisville.”
The Grammy Award also draws attention to the quality of Bellarmine’s music instruction and the university's intrinsic connectedness to Metro Louisville, President Susan M. Donovan said. “I’m so proud of our faculty’s impact on our students and on the larger community.”

Stacy Simpson, the assistant professor of trumpet and director of bands at Bellarmine, who said winning a Grammy was "surreal," echoed that sentiment. “Bravo to Teddy Abrams and Yuja Wang for pushing the boundaries to drive music forward to the next level. And congratulations to the Grammy Award-winning musicians who bring their best to our students here at Bellarmine University every day!”

Inset image: Louisville Orchestra Conductor Teddy Abrams accepts the Grammy Award on Feb. 24, 2024, in Los Angeles. Photos courtesy of the Louisville Orchestra


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