Andrea Shea
February 11, 2011

The Grammy Awards are Sunday night in Los Angeles, and sure, big national music names like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Neil Young will be waiting to hear if they’ve won. But Boston’s talent will be well-represented, too.

And The Nominees Are… Harpist Sarah Schuster Ericsson

It was a big decision, but harpist Sarah Schuster Ericsson finally settled on what to wear to the ceremony in LA — a long, light-gray silk gown with a scooped back. She even modeled it for me in her bedroom.

“It had a lot of glamour to it, I thought,” she said as she justified her decision, “and it’s very simple, it packs easily.”

The Brookline resident’s latest recording, 20th Century Harp Sonatas, is one of five in the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance category. She was nominated once before — five years ago — but didn’t win. She admits this year she didn’t predict her performance on her CD would earn her another Grammy nod.

“It’s never full-proof, you always hope that what happens on the recording is actually what you try to achieve live,” she said. “I always hold my breath until I hear back. The playbacks always give me a very funny feeling.”

Now the harpist, a former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is holding her breath about Sunday night.

Gil Rose, Director Of The Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Gil Rose is, too. He directs the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. The contemporary classical group runs a small record label, BMOP Sound. Their recording of composer Steve Mackey’s piece, Dreamhouse, is nominated in three big categories — including Best Classical Record of the Year and Best Orchestral Performance.

“We’re in with ensembles like the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It’s a real honor and a thrill and we’re glad to be the David to their Goliath,” Rose said.

Rose’s tiny label produced a big, lush sound on the Dreamhouse project with an army of talent from Boston.

“How many people took part in this? Well the orchestra is an orchestra of over 90, there were nine soloists, the crew of engineers, editors — oh gosh, this project involved 150 people probably,” Rose said.

And what if they win?

“I never won a Grammy before so I’m not sure what happens. I’m told the statue is really heavy, though,” he said.

“Well you know, I mean there’s no question that the exposure that they get from it, they’re going to get a spike in interest, I’m sure,” said Don Gorder, from the Business Management Department at Berklee College of Music. “They have to maintain it, you know, in today’s business it’s all about staying connected.”

Songwriter Makeba Riddick

Gorder points to a former student, Makeba Riddick, as someone who’s doing just that. She’s up for two Grammys as a songwriter for rapper Eminem.

Gorder is proud of Riddick’s success. This year, Berklee faculty, students and alumni earned 33 nominations in a bunch of genres.

“It makes us look like we’re doing something right, I guess,” Gorder said.

Ericsson is trying to keep cool about her chances, and muses about what might happen if she actually wins a Grammy.

“Probably more people would return my phone calls if I won, and other than that, I think it’s just the moment of knowing you won, that that year you really were the best,” she said.