The Recording Academy's recently held spring Board of Trustees meeting in Los Angeles yielded GRAMMY Awards category changes in the Classical, Jazz, Latin, and R&B Fields, including the addition of Best Classical Compendium, Best Latin Jazz Album, and Best Urban Contemporary Album as categories. The total number of categories to be recognized at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2013, will be 81.
Additionally, a new Music Educator Of The Year award will be presented as part of the Special Merit Awards Ceremony that takes place during GRAMMY Week, beginning with the 56th GRAMMY Awards in 2014.
"With the focus squarely on ensuring the Awards process is pertinent within the current musical landscape, the Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its passionate commitment to keeping The Recording Academy a relevant and responsive organization in our dynamic music community," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Every year, we diligently examine our Awards structure, including evaluating proposals, to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process, as well as maintains the prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music."
Examination of the GRAMMY Awards structure is a fluid process requiring continuous review, and includes input from elected, qualified voting members from The Recording Academy's 12 Chapters around the country, and a broad spectrum of music makers. The annual procedure assures that the competition is fair, consistent and relevant across all musical genres. The Academy's Awards & Nominations Committee formally meets once a year to review proposals that affect the GRAMMY Awards, Special Merit Awards, GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, voting eligibility and procedures, distribution, new media, and other factors that might have an effect on the quality of the GRAMMY process. Voting and associate members in good standing may submit proposals, which then are reviewed by the committee. The A&N Committee then makes recommendations to The Academy's Board of Trustees for final ratification.
Following is a list of awards changes that will be in effect for the 55th GRAMMY Awards in February 2013:
Best Classical Compendium category is for an album collection containing at least 51 percent playing time of newly recorded material of performances (vocal or instrumental) by various soloist(s) and/or ensemble(s) involving a mixture of classical subgenres. Albums entered here may not be entered in other classical album categories, but tracks from these albums may potentially be entered in other classical categories. Certain classical crossover albums may also be eligible here.
Additionally, the Best Small Ensemble Performance category has been renamed Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
Best Latin Jazz Album is for vocal or instrumental albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinean tango music.
Best Latin Pop, Rock Or Urban Album has been split into two categories: Best Latin Pop Album and Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album. Best Latin Pop Album is for albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of new vocal or instrumental Latin pop recordings. Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album is for albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of new vocal or instrumental Latin rock, urban or alternative recordings.
Best Banda Or Norteño Album and Best Regional Mexican Or Tejano Album are now merged into one category: Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano), for albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of new vocal or instrumental regional Mexican (banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, ranchera, and Tejano) recordings.
Best Urban Contemporary Album is for albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of newly recorded contemporary vocal tracks derivative of R&B. This category is intended for artists whose music includes the more contemporary elements of R&B and may incorporate production elements found in urban pop, urban Euro-pop, urban rock, and urban alternative.
Also, mastering engineers will now be considered nominees and award recipients in the Record Of The Year category.
Additionally, a Music Educator Of The Year award has been established and will be presented for the first time at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony during GRAMMY Week beginning with the 56th GRAMMY Awards in 2014. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, this special award will recognize current educators (K – college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.
The eligibility year for the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards is Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012. The submissions process for the 55th GRAMMY Awards begins July 2, 2012, and will be followed by various Academy Screening Committee meetings later this year. Nominations for the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be announced as part of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," a one-hour special that sets the stage for the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast with nominations announced in several categories and performances by past GRAMMY winners and/or nominees. This year's nominations special will be broadcast live on CBS on Dec. 5.
The Trustees of The Recording Academy — fiduciaries of the not-for-profit organization — along with Academy senior staff, Chapter Regional Directors, Executive Directors, and Chapter Presidents met May 23–25 in Los Angeles to discuss goals, set priorities and implement policies designed to strategically chart the course of The Academy and its affiliate corporations. The Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2012–2013, as well as discussed various programs and initiatives for the coming year.