Numerous Rice Owls up for Grammy gold

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A number of Rice University Shepherd School of Music alumni will be up for Grammy gold at the 66th annual Grammy Awards ceremony Feb. 4 at Arena in Los Angeles.

Grammy winners
Clockwise from top left: Karim Sulayman, James Gaffigan, Chelsea Helm and Caroline Shaw. Photos courtesy of Sulayman, Gaffigan, Helm and Shaw. 

Tenor Karim Sulayman’s (MM ’01) album “Broken Branches” was nominated for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.

James Gaffigan (MM ’03) was recognized for his work as conductor with the Bergen Philharmonic on Missy Mazzoli’s album “Dark with Excessive Bright” nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw (BM ’04) performed with vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth on its album “Rough Magic,” which was nominated for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. Roomful of Teeth performed at the Shepherd School’s Brockman Hall for Opera and hosted a seminar with Rice composition students in February 2023.

Three Shepherd School alumni performed with choral group Conspirare on its album “House of Belonging,” nominated for Best Choral Performance. Soprano Chelsea Helm (MM ’17) is featured on the album. Melissa Givens (MM ’92) and Sarah Brauer (MM ’08) also perform on the record.

The Shepherd School also has several alumni who are members of ensembles that played on nominated albums including the Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Buffalo and Omaha symphonies; the Los Angeles and Louisiana philharmonic orchestras; BBC Concert Orchestra; and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

The full list of the 66th Grammy nominations is online at