Cheshire native, Choate instructor part of group nominated for Grammy

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A professional percussionist who has played with a number of well-known classical arts ensembles is part of an ensemble nominated for a Grammy Award.

Jonny Allen, a 32-year-old Cheshire native and 2007 graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall,  performed the Grammy-nominated piece “Seven Pillars” with Sandbox Percussion.

The nomination category is Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. Andy Akiho, the composer, was nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Once the Grammy nomination was announced, the ensemble was profiled in the New York Times and the Seattle Times.

Sandbox Percussion is the ensemble-in-residence at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for the 2021-22 academic year. Allen and the other three members, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum and Terry Sweeney, are percussion faculty at the school as well.

Allen was not immediately available for comment. According to the Sandbox Percussion website, he’s based in Brooklyn, New York and has performed and won prizes in music competitions all over the world.

Outside of Sandbox, Allen performs with his jazz trio, Triplepoint, the Percussion Collective and is a founding Core Member of the American Modern Opera Company. He previously played with the Volta Trio.

He also co-directs the NYU Sandbox Percussion Seminar each summer, holds a position as percussion instructor at Choate, as well as gives workshops and master classes worldwide.

He earned a bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree and artist diploma from the Yale School of Music.

According to his mother, Peggy Allen, Jonny Allen’s first drum lessons were with First Falls Fife and Drum in Wallingford. He played with the Cheshire Community Band when he was in middle school. His mentors included Ray Mancinelli and the music staff in the Cheshire public schools, as well as the staff at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven.

As a high school freshman in 2004, Jonny Allen participated in a three-day jazz festival for students from area high schools hosted by Cheshire High School, receiving instruction from Grammy-nominated jazz trombonist John Fedchock.

Jonny Allen would be among good local company if his ensemble wins a Grammy.

In 2019, Anthony Rossomando, along with Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, won a Grammy Award for co-writing "Shallow," the signature song from the blockbuster movie "A Star Is Born."

Rossomando is a Hamden native and the son of Fred Rossomando, longtime Moran Middle School music teacher in Wallingford.

The 64th annual Grammy Awards presentation show was scheduled for Jan. 31, but postponed last week due to “uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant” of COVID-19, according to a statement from CBS and the Recording Academy, the nonprofit organization of musical professionals that presents the Grammy Awards.

LTakores@record-journal.com203-317-2212Twitter: @LCTakores

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