Sacramento State professor Richard Savino nominated for Grammy

Grammy-nominated Professor Richard Savino strums his guitar
prior to instructing his History of Rock and Roll class. The Grammy
award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 12.

Maya Frattini

Grammy-nominated Professor Richard Savino strums his guitar prior to instructing his History of Rock and Roll class. The Grammy award ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 12.

Brittany Lambert

A Sacramento State music professor will possibly go from being a normal college professor to becoming a Grammy-award-winning artist on Feb. 12.

Richard Savino has been teaching at Sac State since 1985. He teaches classes on how to play guitar, coaches’ ensembles and teaches on the history of classic rock.

Savino has won many awards in his career, including a Best Sabbatical Award, Semester Leave Research Award and two French awards: a Diapason d’Or and a 10 du Repertoire.

Savino is conductor of the group El Mundo, a musical ensemble he founded in 1999. The group performs music written by Spanish, Italian and Latin American composers from the 17th through 19th centuries.

El Mundo was nominated for its CD Kingdoms of Castille. The group will be competing in the category “Best Small Ensemble Performance.”

Savino first received news of his Grammy nomination when he was driving home to Sacramento from a musical rehearsal at Stanford.

“At 10:30 p.m., I was driving home and I got a call from producers of the record asking me, ‘How does it feel to be a Grammy nominated artist?'” Savino said. “I go, ‘What? What are you talking about?’ Then they told me, ‘Let us be the first to inform you of your Grammy nomination.’ My mood that night went from very grumpy to ‘Wow, this is fantastic.'”

Savino and El Mundo will be attending the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Savino said he is excited and looking forward to attending the ceremony next month.

“How could you not be excited about being in that kind of company?” he said. “It’s like going to the Oscars, and you’re an actor that’s been nominated.”

Paul McCartney, along with some of Savino’s other favorite artists, will be in attendance and Savino said he would love to meet one of his musical influences.

“For me, I would love to meet Paul McCartney,” Savino said. “It would come full circle for my musical life. One of the first songs I learned on the guitar was a Beatles song.”

Born in New York, Savino was drawn to music from a young age. He said he comes from a musical family and spent a lot of time around musical people throughout his childhood.

He said his earliest memory of being interested in music was at the age of 4.

“When I finally got into playing more sophisticated music, I remember playing a lot of The Doors, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix,” Savino said.

Savino studied music at multiple colleges and universities. He obtained his three degrees – a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in music at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He also studied at the Aspen School of Music, Banff School of Fine Arts and studied part-time at Yale University.

Savino said he had numerous musical influences in his lifetime. Some of these include artists such as Al Jolson, Eddie Kantar and Frank Zappa. Some of his classical musical influences include Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

Savino enjoys many types of music, including rock, classical and opera, but he is a huge fan of jazz music.

Savino has traveled all over the United States and abroad to perform his music.

“One of my favorite places to perform is New York because I was born there, it is my home and my family is there,” Savino said. “It’s the cultural capital of this continent.”

Although, he does not have a particular favorite venue to perform in; Rome, Milan and Venice have been some of his favorite cities in which to perform.

“I just love playing in Italy,” Savino said. “The audiences just love concerts. They respond enthusiastically. They give it their all and it is part of their cultural standing.”

With all of his success in his musical career, Savino said he still loves teaching music to students.

“I like witnessing the students get it. You can sit there and impart knowledge to them,” he said. “It can also take a long time to see them understand it, but when the students do, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Sac State will know in 11 days whether Savino goes home a winner.

Brittany Lambert can be reached at [email protected]