Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT resident quartet’s collaboration with fellow Austin musicians earns Grammy nomination

Courtesy of Jessica Mims

When Austin choral group Conspirare’s album House of Belonging received a Grammy nomination for 2024 Best Choral Performance this month, all contributors appreciated the recognition of their hard work. The album served as a means of collaboration between many local artists, including UT’s resident string quartet, the Miró Quartet.

The Miró Quartet joined UT’s Butler School of Music 20 years ago. The four members serve as professors while also performing on campus throughout the year. Their flexible schedules allow them to arrange their own performances beyond UT’s campus, enabling their collaboration with Conspirare. The partnership produced House of Belonging, a 17-track record exploring human and place connections, curated and conducted by Craig Hella Johnson.

Though the quartet’s teaching schedules left them open to this opportunity, Joshua Gindele, founding member of Miró, said the project initially intimidated him.

“It was the most amount of work in a short period of time that we’ve done in a long time,” Gindele said. “Having to learn (the music) with another group and putting it on stage for two concerts over two nights was challenging. But, obviously it paid off.”

Former Miró Quartet member and current UT professor Sandy Yamamoto, who served as a featured violinist for the album, said finding sonority for the whole group posed another challenge. She said she sometimes found it hard to hear the piano when performing, which made it difficult to balance the instruments and choir. However, she said beyond that, the group felt inviting because it included UT affiliates.

“There were former students and faculty — it was fantastic,” Yamamoto said. “It felt like home, which actually works with the whole ‘House of Belonging’ title on the CD.”

Even the managing director of Conspirare, Ann McNair, is a UT alumna and former faculty member.

“What can be learned from this is that relationships matter,” McNair said. “Creating those relationships (is important) — where you can be experimental but then also relationships where you can celebrate and get excited when things like a Grammy nomination happen.”

Although Conspirare previously received a Grammy and numerous nominations, this year stands as Miró’s first Grammy nomination, despite being submitted as initial nominees in years past. 

“Because (Conspirare and Miró) both have really established names in the business, (by) putting the two together, we all helped each other out,” Gindele said.

No matter the outcome of the awards, Gindele said he feels grateful for the nomination for the lesson it teaches their students.

“Anytime we do something as a quartet that brings attention to the Butler School of Music, (it) helps our students feel they’re working with mentors who really ‘walk the walk,’… that’s powerful,” Gindele said.

Gindele said beyond the collaboration helping the school of music and benefiting its students, it proved instructive for the quartet members as well.

“When you see a project on paper, and you have doubts about whether it’s going to be successful, you just have to get it out there, trust the process and let (the public) decide whether it was compelling or not,” Gindele said. “You just have to trust the process. … That was really rewarding.” 

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