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Palo Alto musicians win Grammy nominations

Composer and cellist face off in Classical Crossover category

This year's Grammy Award competition for Best Classical Crossover Album could be called a Palo Alto playoff. Two musicians with local roots are nominated: composer Christopher Tin for his album "Calling All Dawns," and cellist Matt Haimovitz for his album "Meeting of The Spirits."

Tin, a graduate of Palo Alto High School and Stanford University, describes his album as "classical/world fusion," with choral pieces in 12 languages and 200 musicians from various nations. The best-known song, "Baba Yetu," features the Soweto Gospel Choir singing Tin's setting of the Lord's Prayer in Swahili.

"Baba Yetu" was also nominated for a Grammy on its own: for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). Tin originally wrote it as the theme song to the video game "Civilization IV," and it has since become a popular choice for choral groups as well.

Haimovitz lived in Palo Alto for several years while growing up, playing with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. He has returned repeatedly to perform with PACO. "Meeting of the Spirits" is an album of jazz classics with new arrangements by David Sanford, performed by Haimovitz and his cello ensemble.

Haimovitz and Tin are in good company in the Best Classical Crossover Album category; other artists nominated are jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin, opera singer Jessye Norman, and The Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of performers and composers.

The 53rd annual Grammy Awards are scheduled to be shown starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13, on CBS. For more information, go to grammy.com.

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