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Three SUNY Potsdam alums take home Grammy awards

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POTSDAM - Three SUNY Potsdam alumni took home Grammys following the 55th annual awards show.

The State University of New York at Potsdam graduates included superstar soprano Renée Fleming ‘81, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe ‘92 and accomplished recording engineer Pete Reiniger ‘72.

“The Crane School of Music is proud of the artistic accomplishments of these distinguished alumni. The international recognition of the Grammy Awards provides to all SUNY Potsdam students, whether they become performers, teachers, or leaders in the arts, inspiring examples of alumni achievement,” said Crane Dean Dr. Michael Sitton. “We extend heartfelt congratulations to our alumni Grammy winners, whose accomplishments speak to our continuing commitment to excellence at Crane.”

Renée Fleming ‘81 earned her fourth Grammy Sunday night, taking home the award for Best Classical Vocal Solo for her album “Poèmes,” featuring the music of Ravel, Messiaen and Dutilleux. The album was recorded with the Orchestra National de France and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under conductors Seiji Ozawa and Alan Gilbert. Fleming is earning rave reviews for “Poèmes”; she was also awarded the 2012 “Singer of the Year” award from the German ECHO Awards.

One of the most celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, Fleming has also won Grammys for Best Classical Vocal Performance in 1998, 2002 and 2009, for her albums “Verismo,” “Bel Canto” and “The Beautiful Voice.”

Stephanie Blythe ‘92 earned her first Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, as part of the cast of the “Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen” album recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. The Metropolitan Opera recording of their new Ring Cycle production featured Blythe as Fricka, along with the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Dubbed a “once-in-a-generation opera singer” by the New York Times, Blythe will be featured in an upcoming “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast on PBS airing across the nation this spring. Showing her deep commitment to the arts and to her alma mater, Blythe is the artistic director for the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, a program for rising vocalists and pianists, which is in residence at The Crane School of Music.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Sound Production Supervisor Pete Reiniger ‘72 won his third Grammy Sunday for his work on the album “Imaginaries” by Quetzal, in the Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album category.

Reiniger also earned a Grammy in 2009 as an engineer/mixer for the Best Tejano Album, “Borders Y Bailes” by Los Texmaniacs, and received a Grammy in 1997 for his work as a compilation producer on that year’s Best Historical Album, “Anthology of American Folk Music.” Reiniger is currently on the Board of Governors for the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; he served for many years as technical director for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

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