Mills Hall recording in the running for Grammy Award

February 9, 2019 GMT

The producer of a CD recorded on the UW-Madison campus — under tricky conditions — is in the running for a Grammy during this weekend’s Grammy Award ceremony.

“Love Comes in at the Eye,” featuring musicians from the annual Madison summer chamber music festival Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, or BDDS, was recorded in the summer of 2017 in Mills Hall, the 700-seat concert venue in the university’s Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.

“Love Comes in at the Eye” was produced by New York-based producer Judith Sherman, up for her fourth Grammy in the category of Classical Producer of the Year. The album is one of nine recordings produced by Sherman cited in her most recent Grammy nomination.

The recording includes “In at the Eye,” a piece by composer Kevin Puts that was commissioned jointly by BDDS, the Cactus Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, Texas, and Music in the Vineyards, a chamber music festival in Napa, California. Shortly after he accepted the festivals’ commission, Puts received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for music.

Mills Hall was picked for the recording because “among the three festivals, nobody had a better recording space,” said Stephanie Jutt, co-artistic director of BDDS with pianist Jeffrey Sykes. And Sherman had already worked in the space with Jutt, a flute player and retired professor from UW-Madison.

But recording during a hot, humid Midwest summer with an exacting producer presented challenges.

“We had to get all the fans turned off in the hall,” said Jutt. “You have to get special permission to turn off all the ventilation fans, and you have to turn off all the lights, too — because everything makes noise. A lot of noise. If you’re a recording engineer and you’re trying to get a CD-quality recording, you need to turn off everything that makes noise.

“So we were in there with little floor lamps in a quiet, dark space to record this,” she said. “But if you do that — it works.”

Both Jutt and Sykes, along with five musicians who often perform with BDDS, perform on the CD.

BDDS is a three-week chamber music festival, scheduled this year for June 12-30, that also holds special events through the year such as its upcoming “The Music of Words” concert on April 6 featuring music and nationally known poets.

“Love Comes in at the Eye” can be purchased through the BDDS website, bachdancing.org.

UW-Madison professor emeritus Jim Leary is also up for his second Grammy, in the category for Best Album Notes for his work on an album called “Alpine Dreaming.”

The Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled to air live at 7 p.m. Sunday on WISC-TV Channel 3.