Provost’s guitar album being considered for Grammy


Provost James Lentini is nominated for a Grammy in two categories: Best Chamber Music & Small Ensemble and Best Contemporary Composition.

The Grammy’s are getting closer. Only musical super stars like Taylor Swift, John Williams and Daft Punk get a shot at those, right?

Actually, there are thousands of people considered for the coveted music award each year.

 This year, Oakland University Provost James Lentini and his wife, Dana, along with two other OU faculty members are on the ballot to be nominated.

 “I’m happy to be to be on the ballot and I think it’s really great,” Lentini said. “I know it’s an uphill battle from here because of the number of people but it’s really great to be considered.”

 Hundreds of people, even thousands for some categories, are put on the ballot each year for each award. From there, all of those submissions are brought down to just five nominees for each category after judges listen to each submission. Going from the ballot to the nominees is a very large step.

 Lentini said that while the two categories he is on the ballot for, Best Chamber Music & Small Ensemble and Best Contemporary Composition, are much smaller than the ballot for a pop album would be, there is still a lot of competition.

 Lentini’s album is titled “The Four Seasons for Guitar.” He composed all of the music on it and his wife, Dana Lentini, sings in the song “Mother Songs” on the album, putting her on the ballot as well.

 “It’s a thrill to be on the Grammy ballot, since it takes a recording academy member or a record company to get an artist on the ballot,” Dana Lentini said. “It’s also great to be able to have the duo for voice and guitar with my husband, Jim, as we’ve been performing together for such a long time, and the pieces we recorded have a special meaning to us.”

 Lentini said he got the idea to do a seasons theme from an old professor he had while he was a student working towards a bachelor’s degree.

 “I had a guitar instructor while I was a student at Wayne State,” Lentini said. “He called me and talked about Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons,’ and he wanted something that was specific for guitar.”

 “Four Seasons” was composed by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi in 1723 and is meant for a violin. Lentini’s album puts a twist on it by using the same idea and playing the pieces on a guitar.

 Lentini said that those he has told about his ballot status at OU have been very supportive of it.

 “Professor Lentini is a fine composer and performer and we wish him well with this nomination,” Jackie Wiggins, chair of the department of music and theatre, said.

 Lentini has ties to the music program here and holds the title of music professor even though he works as a provost. Last year, he sponsored a concert with students in orchestra and choir and a well known composer. He said he also does a lot of work with OUSC.

 Grizzlies at the Grammy’s has a nice ring to it.