Sono Luminus receives 7 Grammy nominations
Boyce — Local classical record label Sono Luminus is back in the spotlight with seven nominations in the 55th annual Grammy Awards.
Managing director and head engineer Daniel Shores and producer Dan Merceruio will represent the label at the Los Angeles ceremony, which will be televised at 8 p.m. Feb. 10 on the CBS network.
The two men, both Shenandoah University alums, are up for three Grammys, and four of the label’s artists received nods for albums they released.
Sono Luminus has offices and its recording studio in Boyce in the 95-year-old Emmanuel Chapel, which is still being converted for the label’s use.
Shores, 35, of Winchester, found out about the nominations at 11:02 p.m. Dec. 5, just two minutes after the full list of nominees was released. The majority of the nominations were for the label’s artists, and he was elated for them.
“We are thrilled and proud as a label,” he said. “We very much view the experience of a label as being part of a family. The successes of our family are successes for us.”
But what meant the most to Shores was that his work and that of Merceruio was singled out.
The nominations include best surround sound album for the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet’s “Rupa-Khandha,” which was mixed and mastered by Shores. He was also nominated for best engineered classical album for Modern Mandolin Quartet’s “Americana.”
Merceruio, 28, of Leesburg, was nominated as classical producer of the year, an award based on a body of work.
“You work so hard doing something you love, and to have it recognized on this level by your peers — by people in the industry — there is nothing like it,” Merceruio said.
In a nice twist, Sono Luminus artists took three out of five nominations in the same category — “Best Chamber Music and Small Ensemble Performance.” The nominations were for Modern Mandolin Quartet’s “Americana,” Zofo Duet’s “Mind Meld,” and the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet’s “Rupa-Khandha.”
“The thing I am really proud of is that all three albums were recorded within six days of each other,” Shores said.
The final nod was to artist Jory Vinikour, who was nominated for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” for “The Complete Harpsichord Works of Rameau.”
Out of the 81 Grammy categories, 10 are for classical music.
Sono Luminus puts out 20 to 24 albums a year, specializing in acoustic music.
The label is already familiar with the Grammys, having received seven previous nominations and earning one win two years ago for Brandie Lane for “Best Engineered Classical Album” for “Quincy Porter: The Complete Viola Works.”
The nomination for surround sound was especially important for the label because this is the first year it has released an album in surround sound, said Shores, who has worked for the company 12 years.
“Rupa-Khandha” is extremely dynamic, going from “the quietest of moments to the most intense, loud banging you can possibly have,” he said. The four musicians played about 200 instruments on 11 songs, and the differences in the sounds is best represented in surround sound, he added.
“There is such another level of immersion for the listener,” he said. “It is the way we feel best delivers the music.”
Merceruio’s nomination for Producer of the Year in the classical division is based on the strength of his work on 10 different albums, including Celine Ricci’s “Le Bestiaire,” the Jasper String Quartet’s “The Kernis Project: Schubert,” and Cuarteto Latinoamericano’s “Brasileiro — Works Of Francisco Mignone.”
Merceruio said he has watched through the years as people in the industry he looked up to were nominated for this particular category, and to be among them is incredible.
“When you are at this level, to receive a nomination is huge already,” he said. “To win is to satisfy the child jumping up and down inside of all of us.”
“Brasileiro” was also the source of some good news for Merceruio when it won a Latin Grammy for “Best Classical Album” in November. Merceruio has been with Sono Luminus six years.
Both Shores and Merceruio earned bachelor’s degrees from Shenandoah University, in 1999 and 2006 respectively. Shores is also an adjunct professor at SU teaching mobile recording.
Sono Luminus was created in 1995 by Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack as a recording studio, Shores said. In 2005, they purchased Dorian Recordings and started releasing albums as Dorian Sono Luminus.
In 2011, the label stopped using the Dorian name because the owners and staff felt they had established themselves sufficiently to stand on their own name, he said.
For more information on Sono Luminus, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com