How a case of insomnia led to a Grammy nomination

Simone Dinnerstein’s ethereal music is the stuff that dreams are made of. And at the height of the pandemic in 2020, for composer Richard Danielpour, that was literal.

He was struggling with anxiety and insomnia and turned to her music to go to sleep.

“I would wake up at 2 am, staring at the ceiling and nothing. I found no medication. I tried everything, but nothing would get me to sleep, except for one thing: listening to Simone Dinnerstein’s Bach,” said Danielpour.

What You Need To Know

  • Composer Richard Danielpour suffered with insomnia and anxiety at the height of the panbdemic and found the piano playing of concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein was the only remedy
  • Danielpour sent her a fan letter, but also asked if she’d collaborate on a new piece he was writing dedicated to those impacted by the pandmeic
  • Dinnerstein, who was out of work with her performances canceled, recorded the album “An American Mosaic” at her Brooklyn home
  • “An American Mosaic” has had nearly 3 million downloads on iTunes and Dinnerstein has been nominated for a Grammy award for her playing

He wanted to thank the renowned concert pianist, who herself was struggling with all her performances canceled.

“I was pretty aimless and dispirited and finding it hard to know what to do with my time and could not focus very well,” said Dinnerstein.

“I sent her one of the greatest fan letters I’ve sent to anybody and she immediately responded to me,” says Danielout about reaching out to Dinnerstein by email.

And then Danielpour, a native New Yorker who now lives in LA, asked Dinnerstein if she’d perform a new work that he’d written and dedicated to all the different people across the country who’d been impacted by the pandemic. She agreed.

They worked together virtually and in November of 2020. They recorded the concert album “An American Mosaic” at their Brooklyn home.

“She’s like no pianist I know. When she’s playing, you can hear the love in the sound,” said Danielpour.

In November of 2021, Dinnerstein was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for “An American Mosaic.”

Dinnerstein was at her Park Slope home the day the Grammy nominations were announced, but she almost missed the livestream.

“I happen to tune in right before they announced my category. I was watching in bed and I almost off the bed. My dog ​​was really started,” said Dinnerstein.

The music is definitely resonating and surpassing expectations on iTunes, having reached nearing nearly 3 million downloads. Dinnerstein says 700 is more typical of new classical music.

“That’s like what happens to pop stars! I just wanted to write this to deal with my own anxieties and help others,” said Danielpour.

“I think people respond to something that’s true and honest and beautiful and deep and that can be any genre,” said Dinnerstein.

Amazingly, Dinnerstein and Danielpour have not met in person, but hope to soon, perhaps at the rescheduled Grammy Awards.

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