ATLANTA - Composer & arranger scores first Grammy nomination: "I’ve got to say, it's a little weird this year, just with everything going on...but it's incredibly exciting. It’s my first nomination."
Musician Jeremy Levy’s holiday season is a little bit brighter this year, thanks to the news that he’s now officially a Grammy nominee. The acclaimed composer and arranger is up for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella, for a track off his 2020 album, The Planets: Reimagined.
The release was a years-long passion project for Levy, who transformed the famous orchestral suite by Gustav Holst into a seven-track modern jazz and rock opus.
"I tried not to hold myself too much to the original intent of each original movement," explains Levy of the album. "So, we'll talk about the piece that got nominated, which was 'Uranus: The Magician,’" I kind of took a rock and roll approach to the jazz orchestra, so, lots of heavy, distorted guitars and a big rock and roll feel."
Much of the musician’s work has been on major film and television productions, including the FOX hits "Empire" and "Star." As an orchestrator on these projects, it’s Levy’s job to take a composer’s music and ideas and turn them into fully realized recordings.
"So, when I'm hired as an orchestrator on a film, I'm hired by the composer, who writes the actual music," Levy says. "And then I take all their computer demos, or if it's written on piano…I take that and blow it up for the entire orchestra. And then when you get to the actual recording session, I'll usually be in the booth and help produce the session, as well."
Recently, Levy completed orchestrations for the Netflix series "The Queen’s Gambit," a massive hit for the streaming giant.
"You get hired to do a show, and it's long before you see any press for it, you don't really know what it is," he says. "So, I was hired by the composer, Carlos Rafael Rivera...we did it over the summer and it ended up being the orchestra in Budapest, so we're all at separate computers monitoring the sessions, we're all working by ourselves, talking over Slack and e-mail and phone calls and everything. And I don't think anyone really had any idea that it was going to be this sort-of phenomenon. It’s been amazing to watch the show."
The Planets: Reimagined is available for download now; click here for more information on the album and on Levy’s current projects.
American Red Cross: Sherry Nicholson joins Good Day Atlanta from the American Red Cross to talk about how you can make a difference by helping them. She says that thousands of Georgians relied on the American Red Cross for help following 2020 disasters. Also, there is a need for blood donations due to the pandemic.
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