Sangeeta Kaur, the matriarch of the Seal Beach Symphony, has officially been nominated for a GRAMMY® award for her performance on “Mythologies,” an album composed by pianist and composer Danaë Xanthe Vlasse.
Kaur, a celebrated soprano, and her husband Hai have donated $100,000 to jumpstart the Seal Beach Symphony said Chad Berlinghieri, Artistic Director of the Symphony.
Kaur and GRAMMY® winning soprano Hila Plitmann gave voice to Vlasse’s inspiring musical vision on “Mythologies.”
“It is an honor to be recognized with this nomination along with such an exceptional composer as Danaë Vlasse and a virtuosic singer as Hila Plitmann,” said Kaur.
“I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to give expression to Danae’s music,” she said, “and to share this achievement with these two women that I love so dearly.”
In many ways, the album is as mythical as the Odyssey that inspired it.
Taking inspiration from the mythologic Greek heroes in her family heritage Vlasse has masterfully composed “Mythologies,” an epic album celebrating the ancient aesthetics of the divine female.
The album was recorded and mixed by the legendary recording engineer Gerhard Joost, and features noted pianist Robert Thies and other well-known musicians. The album, composed by Vlasse, showcases musical narratives voiced beautifully by the angelic soprano artists Kaur and prior GRAMMY® winner Hila Plitmann.
“I grew up in a French-Greek household and a love of both cultures has been with me all my life,” said Vlasse in an interview. “My father is from the island of Ithaca, which was prominent in Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, so I’ve always felt connected to that history,” she said.
Using the epic drama in Homer’s Odyssey, Vlasse composed six musical sonnets of a sort; Mythologies contains six musical allegories set in Ancient Greece, which are expressed by the mythical soprano voices of Kaur and Plitmann.
The interpretation of a chamber ensemble (piano, flute, violin, viola, cello, lyre, and percussion) creates the moody oceans across which the sopranos voices must travel in time to musically narrate this epic album.
The six classical tracks, some lasting 18 minutes, are: Sirens, Poseidon & Odysseus, Penelope, Nepenthe, Euterpe’s Lament and finally, Metamorphoses.
“The stories I chose to tell were those that gave me the most vivid creative direction; I knew the music would need a defined feeling in order for the album to be cohesive and interesting to me on both the intellectual and emotional levels,” said Vlasse.
The composer said the Mythologies album began mentally brewing about 2016, “and slowly came to me in pieces, first as piano solo ideas. Gradually I felt the music needed vocals and other instruments to better execute story-telling and to allow me to expand into a more diverse sonic realm.”
“After completing my last project, I knew I needed to return to my unfinished dream of Mythologies, so I finished writing the last compositions for it near the end of 2020,” she said. As the pandemic began to ease, they began recording in Jan. – March of 2021.
“Mythologies” is Vlasse’s sixth album. It follows The Swans – 12 Valses Melancoliques, Celebrations & Commemoration, Trilogies, Solstice, and Poème.
Despite Kaur and Vlasse’s musical notoriety, “Mythologies” marks the first Grammy nominations for both musical artists.
“I was too nervous to watch the telecast announcing GRAMMY® nominations,” said Vlasse, so I chose to be on the phone at that time in order to be distracted.”
The composer said Kaur texted her immediately upon hearing the news. “I was stunned, speechless and trembling with emotion,” said Vlasse.
Kaur, too, said she was also surprised, yet excited to learn of her nomination. “I’m still in shock,” she said.
In addition, Vlasse, said she Kaur and Plitmann are best friends and love transcends the music.
“I cherish my colleagues for the very reason that we always want to elevate each other, and personal egos are willingly put aside for the benefit of working in a patient, compassionate, and loving environment,” she said.
It’s been a breakthrough year for both Vlasse and Kaur. In addition to her Grammy nomination, Kaur is also appearing on the national television PBS Special “Front and Center,” having been chosen as one of 10 entertainment acts to feature this season.
The Recording Academy will host the 64th GRAMMY® Awards Jan. 31. The awards telecast will be broadcast live on CBS Television.
Kaur is scheduled to appear in Seal Beach at the annual “Love Songs” concert Feb. 12 at Old Ranch Country Club, said Berlinghieri. In addition, he said Kaur has been offered the designation of “Artist in Residence” for the Seal Beach Symphony which, Berlinghieri said “she gracefully accepted.”
Tickets may be purchased by visiting sealbeachsymphony.com or by calling (562) 509-8640, he said.