A Central Coast native was among the big winners at the Grammy Awards this past weekend.
Internationally acclaimed conductor Kent Nagano won Best Opera Recording for his work on “L’amour de loin” (“Love from Afar”), a French-language opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.
“Considering the formidable competition this year, receiving the award was particularly moving,” Nagano said Wednesday via e-mail. “I was delighted for the entire artistic team involved. The Grammy recognizes and pays tribute to their exceptional talent and creativity.”
Nagano is music director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper.
His schedule keeps him so busy that he completely forgot about Sunday’s award ceremony.
“In the middle of the night, whilst trying to sleep, I kept hearing the phone ring and the signal that (text messages) were coming in,” he recalled. “(I) was rather irritated that people were trying to reach me at 4 a.m. — and so completely ignored them and slept through.”
The next morning, however, Nagano discovered that he had won one of the classical music world’s most prestigious prizes.
“An unforgettably wonderful and special way to begin Valentine’s Day,” he said.
Sunday’s win represents Nagano’s third personal Grammy Award and his sixth overall. He also won Grammys for recordings of the operas “Susanna” and “Dr. Faustus.”
His mother, Ruth Nagano of San Luis Obispo, said she was thrilled to hear about her son’s victory. “I’m always proud of my kids,” she said.
A member of the influential Nagano farming family, Kent Nagano grew up in Morro Bay and studied music under Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli. His cousin, San Luis Obispo Symphony cellist Nancy Nagano, conducts the San Luis Obispo County Youth Symphony’s Concert Orchestra and the Cal Poly Chamber Orchestra.