K-State professor shares behind the scenes look at Grammy nominated album

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Bryan Pinkall started singing at his hometown church in Great Bend.

Now, a vocal performance and Italian diction teacher at Kansas State, he’s also a Grammy nominated soloist with the Kansas City Chorale.

Pinkall’s tenor talent was immediately recognized by directors of the chorale.

“He has a voice that is so perfectly suited to the tenor section of the chorale that he was hired immediately after his audition,” recalled Donald Lancasty, the executive director of the Kansas City Chorale.

He has been singing with the chorale since 2012 but still gets nervous about auditioning for a solo. And this new project – Sergei Rachmoninoff’s “All Night Vigil” or “Vespers” was no exception.

“The piece is a vigil service,” he said. “Probably the most apparent challenge is that it’s in Slavonic, which is a Russian liturgical language,” Pinkall said. “And I know most people, probably, don’t know that piece but in the choir world it’s a really popular, very famous piece.”

The piece is a challenge, he said, because it is an hour-long Opus with 15 movements all performed a capella.

To prepare to submit his audition and for the first few practice sessions, Pinkall took dictation classes.

“Even in a rehearsal, that’s a performance. And it is – it is an emotional experience,” he said.

The album was a collaboration between the Kansas City Chorale and the Phoenix Chorale. Both Grammy-winning groups are under the baton of Charles Bruffy.

The groups spent more than a year preparing before coming to Kansas City to record the piece at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

For Pinkall, the Grammy nomination is just the cherry on top of a banner year.

In 2014, Pinkall was the artistic manager and director for the opening ceremony of the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“I have a huge passion for the Olympics and the Olympic ceremonies, ever since I was a little kid,” Pinkall said.

The album was recorded and edited in 2014 then, after almost 8 months of editing, it was released earlier this year.

It’s first week on iTunes, the album was chosen to be a First Play. Pinkall said it was only the second time a classical album was chosen.

The album also debuted in the number one spot on the Billboard classic music chart.

After all of this, Pinkall was chosen to prepare the music of the Papal Mass while Pope Francis was visiting Philadelphia.

“Which as the most amount of people I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Several members of both the Kansas City Chorale and the Phoenix Chorale will be at the Grammy Award show in Los Angeles in February.


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