Lawrence pianist’s collaboration with trombonist wins Latin Grammy Award for best classical music album

photo by: Contributed Photo

Lawrence pianist Paulina Leisring won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Album on Nov. 19, 2020.

Lawrence pianist Paulina Leisring hopes to change some people’s minds about classical music with her recent album, which won a Latin Grammy Award last month.

People who think of classical music as boring or inaccessible should give it a chance, Leisring said — especially now, because it can provide a respite from this “dreadful” year.

“This CD, it’s just pure, pure beauty — pure love,” Leisring said. “It’s just beautiful music with melody. And you don’t need to know anything about music to enjoy it.”

The album, “Eternal Gratitude,” is a collaboration between Leisring and trombonist Domingo Pagliuca, and it won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Album on Nov. 19. Pagliuca, a native of Venezuela who now resides in Miami, is a trombonist and a member of the ensemble Boston Brass. Leisring is a freelance pianist and an instructor for students in Lawrence and the Kansas City metro area. She was born in Taiwan and came to the United States to continue her music training. Leisring has a doctorate in piano performance.

photo by: Contributed Photo

Lawrence resident Paulina Leisring, left, and Domingo Pagliuca pictured in the University of Kansas’ Swarthout Recital Hall in January of 2019.

Leisring met Pagliuca through his tours with Boston Brass. About two years ago, Leisring said, Boston Brass stopped in Lawrence for a performance and Pagliuca mentioned that the University of Kansas’ Swarthout Recital Hall would be a good place to make a recording.

“So he mentioned it and we said, ‘Oh yeah, why not?'” Leisring said.

The duo met in January of 2019 to record the music. Lawrence resident Brock Babcock served as recording engineer for the project, and virtuoso tuba player Sam Pilafian was the producer. Leisring said “Eternal Gratitude” was Pilafian’s last project — he died in April 2019.

“Eternal Gratitude” includes songs inspired by the works of Claude Debussy, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann and other classical composers. There are also more contemporary pieces in the album. Leisring said she doesn’t have a favorite piece on the album, because she enjoys the diverse styles.

Leisring said it “feels like a dream” that she won a Latin Grammy, calling it one of the most prestigious music awards. The Latin Grammy Awards are granted by The Latin Recording Academy, an international nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and elevating Latin music and its creators. This year’s ceremony was the 21st annual Latin Grammy Awards.

In a Facebook post on Nov. 20, Pagliuca thanked his supporters for their love and support. Of Leisring, he said “you were just spectacularly superb. Thank you for your artistry, your musicianship, and most of all your friendship.”

photo by: Contributed Photo

The CD cover for Domingo Pagliuca and Paulina Leisring’s album, “Eternal Gratitude.”


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