James Blachly

Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Maestro James Blachly

James Blachly, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra music director, has been nominated for a Grammy for his recording of Dame Ethel Smyth's "The Prison."

He worked on the piece with the Experiential Orchestra, which he directs in New York City.

"It's a great honor and very exciting," Blachly said.

The piece was nominated in the best solo vocal performance-classical category of the Grammys, and the group will find out if they've won during the Jan. 31 ceremony.

"It feels like the culmination of years of work and effort on the part of hundreds of people that believed in the power of this music we recorded," Blachly said.

He first encountered Smyth's piece at the end of 2015 moving into 2016.

Blachly said he was stunned by the beauty and power of piece, which led him on a journey of discovery of Smyth.

After researching the composer, Blachly determined that the "The Prison" deserved a "world class recording" to give it and Smyth the recognition both deserved.

For Blachly, this is a "real victory" for Johnstown and the JSO community.

Area residents heard Blachly's version of his nominated composition when the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra presented it two years ago.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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