Peter Jermihov directs the PaTRAM Institute Singers during a recording of "The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" at a church in Third Way, Ill.

When that megawatt crowd packs into the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26 for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, one Triton music professor will be in that constellation. 

Peter Jermihov is nominated for a Grammy for “The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” a recording which he conducted in August 2017, but released in April. 

“It takes a long time,” Jermihov said of his project, which is nominated in the Best Choral Performance and Producer of the Year, Classical category.

Jermihov, who is one of the 12,000 voting members of the Grammy Academy — the people who pick the Grammy award winners — said that it’s the first time he’s ever been nominated. He said that he commissioned the composer Kurt Sander to write the liturgy after an epiphany he experienced around five years ago.

“I was performing music of the great composers all my life, but at some point I just realized, they were all dead,” Jermihov said. “I wondered why in classical music there’s so little of contemporary classical music being performed.”

The liturgy is an example of Russian Orthodox choral music performed in English. Jermihov said that he recorded the album in a week inside of the New Gracanica Monastery in Third Lake, Illinois. 

“It’s an exact replica of a church in Kosovo,” he said. “You walk in and it’s absolutely stunning, just beautiful. The whole thing is frescos about five stories tall. Just stunning. We were in that environment for six days, six hours a day.” 

While inspired by sacred music, including African American spirituals, a genre he said is tragically underappreciated by many people. Jermihov doesn’t shy from listening to other music, as well. 

“One of my favorite movies this last season was a ‘Star is Born,’ and Lady Gaga really knocked it out of the park,” he said. “When [she and Bradley Cooper] sang that number together at the Oscars, I was really moved.” 

He’s also a fan of other genres. 

“My son and I listen to Metallica and a lot of metal rock and country music,” he said. “Tanya Tucker is up for an award and Reba McEntire! I’m 65, so this goes back for me.”

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