Baylor Music Professor Receives 2018 Grammy Nomination for Chorale Album of Holocaust Victim’s Sacred Compositions
- Brian A. Schmidt, D.M.A., associate professor of choral music in the School of Music at Baylor University.
- Brian A. Schmidt, D.M.A., associate professor of choral music in the School of Music at Baylor University. (Credit: Brian Mullins)
- At Baylor's School of Music, Dr. Brian Schmidt conducts the Baylor A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers and teaches the graduate choral conducting and literature courses and guides graduate conducting recitals.
Brian A. Schmidt has been nominated for Best Choral Performance for the 2016 album “Tyberg: Masses.” Together, Schmidt and the South Dakota Chorale, of which he is founder and artistic director, garnered a total of four nominations for the recording.
By Gary Stokes, Office of the Vice Provost for Research
WACO, Texas (Dec. 12, 2017) – Baylor University Associate Professor of Choral Music Brian A. Schmidt, D.M.A., and the professional choir he founded are giving voice to the music of a long-unknown Holocaust victim, and receiving critical acclaim – and Grammy Award nominations – for their efforts.
Born in 1893 in Vienna, Austria, to musically gifted parents, Marcel Tyberg (pronounced “TEE-burg”) composed symphonies, choral music, piano sonatas, chamber pieces and other works in the neo-Romantic style. Though a practicing Catholic with only one-sixteenth Jewish heritage, that was enough to lead to his arrest by the Nazi Gestapo and his internment in the infamous Auschwitz death camp, where he died in 1944 at the age of 51.
Only days before his arrest, Tyberg sensed it was imminent and assembled a group of his friends in a local church where they performed some of the composer’s works. He then entrusted his manuscripts to a physician friend, Dr. Milan Mihich. Mihich later passed the music to his son, Enrico, who moved to Buffalo, New York, bringing Tyberg’s scores with him and storing them in his basement.
Although decades had passed, Enrico Mihich, who died in 2016, decided to seek ways to bring Tyberg’s work to light. Over the last five to 10 years, some of Tyberg’s orchestral, chamber and piano works have gained a following, but his sacred compositions – two Catholic masses – remained unexplored until a colleague brought them to Schmidt’s attention.
“I’ve always been interested in giving voice to unsung heroes of the past and present,” Schmidt said. “I like performing the music of composers that are rarely heard or unknown, but Tyberg's story and music felt more like a calling. Once I knew about him and played through the music, I felt compelled to give his music life.”
In addition to Schmidt’s and the South Dakota Chorale’s Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, the Tyberg: Masses album was nominated in the Best Engineered Album–Classical (with Boston-based Sound Mirror), Best Surround Sound Album and Producer of the Year–Classical categories.
A native of New Ulm, Minnesota, Schmidt studied choral music at South Dakota State University before earning his master’s degree and doctorate of music arts in choral conducting at the University of North Texas. At Baylor’s School of Music, he serves as conductor of the Baylor A Cappella Choir and Chamber Singers and teaches the graduate choral conducting and literature courses and guides graduate conducting recitals.
In 2009, he founded Sioux Falls-based South Dakota Chorale as a professional chorus. The Chorale recorded the album under Schmidt’s direction in January of 2016 at the First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. The recording was released later that year.
Regardless of whether Schmidt brings home the coveted golden Gramophone trophy that gives the award its name, he is grateful for the recognition and the privilege of bringing Tyberg’s work to the world.
“Marcel Tyberg is somebody the world needs to know about, and we are honored to play a part in preserving and honoring Marcel Tyberg’s legacy,” Schmidt said.
The 60th Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Jan. 28, 2018.
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
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The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. Baylor’s School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.
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