Franciscan Friar Alessandro wins Classic Brit Awards nomination for Voice of Assisi

The first religious brother to land a major record deal is up for an award for his album of sacred music
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A Franciscan friar who signed a deal with Lady Gaga's record company, has received an album of the year nomination at the Classic Brit Awards.

Friar Alessandro, the first religious brother to land a major record contract, is nominated for his debut, Voice of Assisi, a collection of sacred music, produced by Mike Hedges, who previously collaborated with Manic Street Preachers.

Alessandro, 35, refuses to receive any monetary compensation for the sale of the Universal Music album and has directed proceeds to the Order of Friars Minor, a registered charity to assist Franciscan charity activities in different parts of the world.

Alessandro, who is not allowed to travel far from his monastery to promoted the album, has been invited to the Royal Albert Hall awards next month, where his album competes with easy-listening star Richard Clayderman, Katherine Jenkins and king of the waltz Andre Rieu.

Catrin Finch, former official harpist to the Prince of Wales, features in the album category for Blessing, her recording of songs by British composer John Rutter.

Pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi, whose work is familiar on TV and film, is one of five recording artists who are up for two awards at the event.

The other double nominees at the awards, hosted by Myleene Klass, are Nicola Benedetti, Jonas Kaufmann, Lang Lang and Joseph Calleja.

French pianist Clayderman has been nominated for his first ever Classic Brit, following the release of Romantique earlier this year which was his first album for more than a decade

The shortlist of three who compete for female artist of the year - Alison Balsom, Joyce DiDonato and Nicola Benedetti - are the same as for 2012, although Benedetti came out on top a year ago.

Composer Hans Zimmer, whose work has appeared in dozens of films including Inception and Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, will collect the outstanding contribution to music award as well as performing at the ceremony, officially called the the Classic Brit Awards 2013 with MasterCard.

The nominations in full:

Female Artist of the Year 

Alison Balsom

Joyce DiDonato

Nicola Benedetti

Male Artist of the Year 

Daniel Barenboim

Jonas Kaufmann

Lang Lang

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Amy Dickson

Alisa Weilerstein

Joseph Calleja

Tine Thing Helseth


Arvo Part

Hans Zimmer

Ludovico Einaudi

Critics' Award

Boris Giltburg - Prokofiev

War Sonatas Halle Orchestra, Choir & Youth Choir - Elgar

The Apostles John Wilson Orchestra - Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies

Jonas Kaufmann - Wagner

Outstanding contribution to music

Hans Zimmer

Album of the Year

Andrea Bocelli - Opera Andre Rieu - Magic of The Movies

Friar Alessandro - Voice From Assisi

John Rutter/Catrin Finch - Blessing

Joseph Calleja - Be My Love: A Tribute To Mario Lanza

Katherine Jenkins - This Is Christmas Lang Lang -

The Chopin Album Ludovico Einaudi - In A Time Lapse

Nicola Benedetti - The Silver Violin

Richard Clayderman - Romantique