Nadia Shpachenko’s ‘Poetry of Places’ wins Grammy award

Cal Poly Pomona Music Professor Nadia Shpachenko won her first Grammy Award for her album, “The Poetry of Places,” in the category of Best Classical Compendium at the Staples Center on Jan. 26.

“I feel like the Grammy is the icing on the cake,” Shpachenko said. “I really did this project because I wanted to work with these composers … I wanted to connect the works with all the things I was passionate about, in this case architecture.”

Nadia Shpachenko began working on “The Poetry of Places” album in 2016.
(Courtesy of Robby Klein | Getty Images)

According to “The Poetry of Places” booklet, the most important musical instrument in classical music is the hall, where one learns to embrace the space and how it complements the musical process. 

Each piece of the album was inspired by buildings or locations that impacted the other composers who worked on it. The composers of the album include Andrew Norman, Harold Meltzer, Jack Van Zandt, Hanna Lash, Amy Beth Kirsten, James Matheson, Lewis Spratlan and Nina C. Young. 

Shpachenko and the composers began developing the concept in 2016. “This album was a labor of love,” Shpachenko said. “I worked on it daily for four years from the first concept that we developed.” Through those four years, Shpachenko managed to balance teaching and developing her music efficiently with the financial and social support from CPP.

The performers featured on the album consist of Shpachenko on piano, toy piano and voice; Joanne Pearce Martin with piano; and Nick Terry and Cory Hills with percussion. 

The Grammy-winning professor on campus has induced excitement through students and faculty who are excited to see the impact it could have on the music department. Many are celebrating her accomplishment as they see her face pop up on their CPP Portals.

“I hope it gives like, sort of an incentive for people to come like, ‘Oh look we can study with someone who won a Grammy.’ I hope we have that kind of impact on people,” said third-year music industry studies student Kerby Diaz.

Shpachenko will be back at CPP in the fall to teach again. For now, she’s booked with interviews, taking advantage of her extra time to pick up more musical activities outside of teaching and working on her upcoming projects.

Her new project is inspired by soccer, which revolves around her family because of her son who is a competitive soccer player. She anticipates that this project will take two to three years to complete. 

To keep up with Shpachenko’s musical endeavors, visit her website at nadiashpachenko.com. 

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