While Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Tyler the Creator were recent big-name Grammy winners, two graduates from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts also won recognition for musical achievements.
Edwin Vega, who received a master’s degree in opera performance from Roosevelt in 2004 and a professional artist diploma in opera in 2006, won a Grammy with five fellow artists for Best Opera Recording.
A tenor who has sung in opera productions around the globe, Vega sings the role of Farmer Bunce on the Grammy-winning family opera album, Tobias Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Peter Jermihov, who received a bachelor’s in music theory in 1977 from Chicago Musical College, which today is part of Roosevelt’s CCPA, also was nominated with others for a Grammy in the category of Best Choral Performance.
A leader in producing new sacred music, Jermihov commissioned and produced the Grammy-nominated choral performance on the recording of Sander: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
Both men credit music training they received at Roosevelt with enhancing their skills and love for music.
“My time at Roosevelt was magical. Not only were my professors supportive; they also had a high level of knowledge and experience in opera,” said Vega, who studied at CCPA with renowned opera stars including Judith Haddon, David Holloway and Michael Best.
“It was a great musical school and a real honor to go there,” said Jermihov of his time at Chicago Musical College where he fondly remembers European-tradition piano, voice and ear-theory training under the leadership of the late composer and pianist Rudolph Ganz.
“Everything that came after in my musical life grew out of my training at Chicago Musical College,” said Jermihov, who began five years ago to commission and produce one major choral work of sacred music annually.
Both Vega and Jermihov attended last month’s Grammy celebration in Los Angeles.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I believe the album (Tobias Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox) was recognized because it’s a modern opera. There’s a sense of joy in the music. It’s playful and fun and I just loved being part of it,” said Vega.
“It was exciting to see my name up on the big screen, and to know we were nominated for a performance that is the first of its kind in the sacred music genre,” added Jermihov. “It was a bit disappointing not to win, but it makes me want to go back to the Grammys and try again.”
Vega, who has sung with Chicago Opera Theatre and CCPA’s Vivid at the Auditorium Theatre, lives in New York and now dedicates his time as a leadership development coach and facilitator. He plans to integrate opera singing more and more into his future. See and hear Vega sing.
Jermihov, who was a Fulbright Scholar in Russia and studied under conductor Ilya Musin, will release in April a new recording devoted to Orthodox hymns sung by the same PaTRAM Institute Singers that are in his Grammy-nominated choral performance. A resident of Wheeling, Ill., he teaches music at Triton College.
Hear Jermihov’s Grammy nominated piece.