A CD with ties to the Pitt Music Department has been awarded a Grammy for "Best Traditional Folk Album." "Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster" (American Roots Publishing, 2004) was produced by David Macias. Released last August, it features 17 performances of Foster songs by artists ranging from bluegrass fiddler and singer Alison Krauss to classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Pitt's Center for American Music, directed by Professor Deane Root, chair of the Music Department, was closely involved in the project. The Center provided the producers with copies of Foster's original sheet music as well as images and documents that were used in producing "Beautiful Dreamer"'s album notes.
People all over the world see Foster as epitomizing American music," says Deane Root, Center for American Music director and professor and chair in Pitt's music department. "He launched what we think of today as popular music, and his influence is still being felt."
A century before the Grammys existed-decades before there was recorded music, in fact- Foster was composing such memorable songs as "My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight" and "Gentle Annie," both of which appear on the Beautiful Dreamer CD (along with the title song, of course).
Macias currently is working on another project closely linked with Pitt's Center for American Music: a CD set of 50 songs spanning 400 years of American music. Supported by former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, whose niece's husband will co-produce the CD set, the forthcoming Song of America is scheduled for release in 2006. It is largely based on a Pitt project that Root launched several years ago, called Voices Across Time, which provides secondary school teachers with recorded music from various eras to help them teach U.S. history through song.
From an article written by Sharon S. Blake, Feb. 21, 2005 edition of the Pitt Chronicle.