School of Music alumni win Grammy Awards

Internationally acclaimed violist Richard O’Neill, an alumnus of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts has won a Grammy Award for best instrument solo; and alumna Tichina Vaughn, internationally renowned mezzo-soprano, was a member of the ensemble on the Grammy-winning best opera production. The Grammy Awards were presented Sunday.

“Richard O’Neill and Tichina Vaughn are performing at the very top of their fields, as these coveted Grammy Awards illustrate,” said Chancellor Brian Cole. “They have proven that a conservatory education from the UNCSA School of Music can be the foundation for a rewarding and celebrated career. We offer hearty congratulations.”

Richard O'Neill has won a Grammy Award

Alumnus Richard O'Neill won a Grammy Award for best classical instrumental solo.

O’Neill (High School ’97) won in the best classical instrumental solo category for his performance of Theofandis' “Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra” with the Albany Symphony conducted by David Alan Miller. 

O’Neill has been nominated for two previous Grammys and is the winner of an International Emmy for a Korean television documentary series that featured his work with a multicultural youth orchestra. He is only the second person to receive the award for viola performance in the history of the category. O'Neill is on the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder and a member of the renowned Takács Quartet.

Tichina Vaugn was a member of the ensemble for the Metropolitan Opera's "Porgy and Bess"

Alumna Tichina Vaughn was a member of the ensemble on the Grammy Award-winning best opera recording. / Photo: Bryan Bedder

Vaughn (B.M. ’89) sang the role of Lily in the 2019 Metropolitan Opera production of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” winner of the Grammy Award for best opera recording. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she returned to UNCSA in 2019 as a guest artist, coaching fellows of A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute.

Vaughn was a principal artist with the Dresden Semper Opera and the Stuttgart State Opera, the latter earning her the honorary title of Kammersängerin, a prestigious German accolade for distinguished singers of opera and classical music. She previously performed with the Metropolitan Opera in “Dialogues des Carmélites” and First Maid in “Elektra.”

The School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts offers an elite conservatory experience for graduate, undergraduate and high school students, combining intensive individual study with a rich variety of performance opportunities. Students, faculty and renowned guest artists perform more than 300 recitals, concerts and operas each year in facilities that include the state-of-the-art Watson Chamber Music Hall and the historic Stevens Center. Faculty are world-class working artists who bring vast performance experience — from local and regional ensembles to international symphony orchestras. The School of Music is home to A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, a professional training ground for exceptional young singers, and Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute, developed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to nurture outstanding chamber musicians. Alumni of the School of Music have performed with renowned orchestras, opera companies and ensembles throughout the world including the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, La Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Takács Quartet, Warp Trio and Kalichstein-Laredo Trio, among many others.

Contact Media Relations

Get the best news, performance and alumni stories from UNCSA.

March 16, 2021