But we still think they're interesting.

A recording of ‘The Fifth Century’, a seven-movement work by British composer Gavin Bryars, has won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. The recording features professional Philadelphia chamber choir The Crossing, saxophone quartet PRISM and conductor Donald Nally. Whilst not the the highest-profile award of the annual ceremony, the Choral Grammy is obviously our favourite, and it has an interesting history. Here’s a few factoids.


1. Gavin Bryars is only the third British composer to enjoy Choral Grammy success during his lifetime. The others are William Walton (‘Belshazzar’s Feast’, 1974) and Benjamin Britten (‘A Ceremony of Carols’, 1965).

2. The most successful British composer at the Choral Grammys is Benjamin Britten. Performances of Britten works have won on four occasions, most recently in 2000.  

3. Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ and Walton’s 'Belshazzar’s Feast' have both won the Choral Grammy on three occasions. Britten arguably edges it though, as he conducted the first winning performance of ‘War Requiem’, in 1964 (which also means that he actually won the Grammy trophy).

4. The Brits won the first ever Choral Grammy. Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus took the prize in 1961 with their recording of Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Safe.

5. The most successful Choral Grammy work is Brahms’s ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’ (four winning performances). There’s a strong chasing pack of Britten (‘War Requiem’), Mahler (Symphony No.8), Berlioz (Requiem), Walton (‘Belshazzar’s Feast’), Orff (‘Carmina Burana’) and Verdi (Requiem) - all of which have had three winning performances. 

6. The most successful Choral Grammy choir is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus (10 winning performances). In second place are the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus (9); the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus are third (6).

7. The National Youth Chamber Choir helped Eric Whitacre to his Choral Grammy in 2012. NYCC (as Laudibus) joined The King’s Singers, The Eric Whitacre Singers and the Pavao Quartet for ‘Light and Gold’, a disc of the composer’s own works.