News & Information

Savino on the Grammys: 'Like I went to Oz'


Professor Richard Savino on the Grammys red carpet with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, winner of the Classical Vocal Solo award.

Pre-Grammys story and video on Professor Richard Savino

More news: CBS' Chris Booker interviews Professor Richard Savino on the Grammys red carpet

Professor Richard Savino's website

Music Professor Richard Savino spent Feb. 12 in Los Angeles attending the Grammy ceremonies. He and his Latin classical group El Mundo were nominated in the Small Ensemble Performance category for their CD “The Kingdoms of Castille.” While the CD didn’t take home the Grammy, Savino says he had a terrific time and got to meet some music legends.

Q: You didn’t take home a Grammy, but was it still an exciting experience?

A: It was one of the most worthwhile and exciting experiences of my professional life. It was beyond exciting. It was like I went to Oz for a couple of days. Had photos taken with many music luminaries and was interviewed by CBS.

Q: What kind of impact did Whitney Houston’s death have on the overall proceedings?

A: When it occurred on Saturday, we were in the middle of the ceremony for the lifetime achievement awards. You saw all the people’s cell phones in the hall light up, and clearly there was text messaging going on. From that moment on, there was a surrealistic feeling to the event. It cast something of a pall on everything, but that could not suppress the celebratory mood.

Q: Did you get to meet Sir Paul McCartney?

A: I did not get a chance to meet him, but I did get into the MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring him. I won’t say how, but I got in. It was only at the last minute I was able to get a ticket. It was one of those over-the-top things. Paul was really engaging. There was a beautiful version of “Yesterday” by James Taylor, and Diana Krall did a gorgeous version of “For No One.” Neil Young did a blistering version of “I Saw Her Standing There” – absolutely fantastic. Then Paul got up and did a number of tunes.

Q: Who else did you meet?

A: I bumped into David Crosby and Tom Hanks, and exchanged greetings with Jack Nicholson and Hugh Hefner. I also have photos of myself with Glen Campbell, Chick Corea and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (the guy who plays those great solos on Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers recordings). And I did get a chance on Sunday to talk with Gregg Allman.

Q: How was the after party?

A: It was a mix of a Carnaval with Cirque du Soleil over your head. It was completely excessive but really, really fun. There were Carnaval dancers everywhere. And gymnasts. There was a room with about 2,000 people in it and tables of fantastic food. It was kind of one of those Roman things you read about in history books. And the entertainment was fantastic. Kenny Loggins opened and did an incredible, tight set. Then, in a nearby room with about 300 or 400 people in it, there were really great jazz musicians. That’s where I spent a lot of time.

Q: What’s next?

A: I have some research projects, one about a couple of guitar composers from the 18th century. One weekend, I have to fly to New York to finish a recording that comes out this summer. That’s a two-CD project. And I have two other CDs in the can that will come out sometime in the fall. Then over spring break, I hope to go to Cambridge University, where I’ve been invited to a forum for guitar historians. In April, I play the U-Nite concert with my friend Professor Robin Fisher. When the semester ends, I go back to Spain for another recording project, then I have a two-week tour with the chorus Chanticleer of music that was composed in California missions during the 18th century. I think we have seven or eight concerts, then on to the Boston Guitarfest at the New England Conservatory of Music for a week.

That’s the end of June … can’t remember where I’m supposed to be after that. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

– Craig Koscho