An Interview with Grammy-Winning Producer David Frost

DAVID FROST WON FIVE GRAMMY AWARDS FOR PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, Classical, in 2005 for his work on the following Milken Archive albums: Dave Brubeck, Bruce Adolphe, Genesis Suite, Jewish Operas Volume 1 and Yehudi Wyner.

Milken Archive: What was it like to win the Grammy?

David Frost: It was very exciting because this is the biggest category for a classical producer to win in. It's not for a specific album, it's for your work, so it's a very big award. And in this case, all of my recordings this year were for the Milken Archive. So it's a win for the Archive too. After all the years of work that have gone into the Archive, for it to finally come out and be recognized like this is really a wonderful feeling.

MA: When you were initially approached to produce these recordings, what drew you to the project?

DF: I think it was the idea that I would be working on a lot of different kinds of music that would be new to me. A lot of the music that we recorded were first recordings, so this is music that very few people know—including me. Because of the wide variety of combinations of instruments and different kinds of music—operas and chamber music and choral music—the project immediately looked like a very interesting one.

MA: Could you describe your experience of producing the Milken Archive recordings, and do you have any favorite moments or memories?

DF: Working with Dave Brubeck was great. He just sort of has an inner glow and an openness that I found to be very contagious. And I came away from the recording session feeling very good. When you're around him, his positiveness and enthusiasm are very contagious. It's nice to work with someone who's so great and so famous and also has that wonderful personal way about him. So that was a high point.

I think sometimes recording music that has never been recorded before is a very exciting thing, because you're bringing something to life that otherwise wouldn't exist, in a format that can be passed down to future generations. I think there's a special satisfaction in creating a document that has never been created before in any way. And having it be in a format that can exist for years to come, there's a very special satisfaction that comes from that. To bring a lot of new music to the attention of people, and to have them respond and be interested and like it, is very satisfying.

The other thing that was really interesting to me about the recording process for this project is that we went to a variety of places to record. We were down in Mississippi and in Lubbock, Texas, and out here in L.A. and of course New York and Cincinnati and Baltimore. In some cases, like in Mississippi and Lubbock, we worked with really excellent and well trained choirs [such as the Choir of Texas Tech University and the Southern Chorale]. To bring this music not only to people who are buying the CDs, but to these young performers was a very exciting and interesting aspect of the project.

MA: Could you talk about the value and importance of the Milken Archive?

DF: The fact that it's an archive ensures the survival of this music into the future, because it's not entirely a commercial enterprise. It's there to exist into the future, and it's there for people to find and use, as opposed to something that comes out on a record label, which is more of a commercial enterprise: we release a record, we make money from it, and then you may or may not ever see it again. The nature of an archive like this is to ensure this music's survival, and I think that's really important. It's also a wonderful opportunity for all the people who are participating in the creation of this archive—for composers and musicians, for me as a producer, and for all of the engineers involved.

MA: Is there anything else you'd like to say about winning the Grammy?

DF: I'm very proud to have won a GRAMMY, and I'm very proud that it's been because of an association with the Milken Archive. I wish the Archive continued success.