“Audiences float out of [Nally’s] concerts on a choral cloud.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally, kicks off its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. with Of Arms and the Man, part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. The program, which explores the timeless themes of nationalism and war while navigating personal stories of joy and despair, features a world premiere by 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne, the nation’s preeminent composer of works of social advocacy, co-commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and The Crossing. Donald Nally describes, “The concert takes a look at life and war and life during war from a number of angles: national pride, grief, and anger. Ted’s new piece is going to fit into this overall theme of how we agree or disagree across nations and continents and what we’re actually doing when we act on those alliances or arguments. In Of Arms and the Man, The Crossing continues to ask complex questions for which there may be no easy answers.” Three cellos will join the 24-voice ensemble, weaving a tapestry of works that explore what’s happening in choral music today.
Two works of Gabriel Jackson will anchor the program. First is Rigwreck, a virtuosic exploration of the role of money and power in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, written for The Crossing’s 2013 project, The Gulf (between you and me). The work is based on a text by Pierre Joris. Jackson’s Our flags are wafting in hope and grief looks at national identity in the struggle for freedom through a poem of Latvian poet Doris Koreva, with the timely words “A moment has come – a moment to brief, perhaps a point of no return. A voicing of freedom at whatever cost, cannot now be recanted.”
The program also includes Toivo Tulev’s setting of Walt Whitman’s “A child said, what it the grass,” a rare performance of David Lang’s depart for 3 cellos and women, Louis Andriessen’s Ahania Weeping, Benjamin C.S. Boyle’s Empire of Crystal, “Sanctus” from Sebastian Currier’s Night Mass, Suzanne Giraud’s Johannisbaum, David Shapiro’s Sumptuous Planet, and “Conversation in the Mountains” from Kile Smith’s Where flames a word.
Program Information Of Arms and the Man, presented by The Philadelphia Fringe Festival Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. FringeArts | 140 N Columbus Blvd | Philadelphia, PA 19106 Tickets: $39 general / $27.30 members. $15 student + 25-and-under Link: http://fringearts.com/event/of-arms-and-the-man/
Performers: The Crossing Thomas Mesa, Arlen Hlusko, and Sujin Lee, cellos
Program: Ted Hearne – world premiere David Lang – depart Gabriel Jackson – Our flags are wafting in hope and grief* Kile Smith – “Conversation in the Mountains” from Where flames a word* Louis Andriessen – Ahania Weeping* Suzanne Giraud – Johannisbaum David Shapiro – Sumptuous Planet Sebastian Currier – “Sanctus” from Night Mass Gabriel Jackson – Rigwreck* Benjamin CS Boyle - Empire of Crystal* David Lang - last spring Toivo Tulev – A child said, what is the grass?* commissioned by The Crossing
About The Crossing The Crossing is a Grammy-winning professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. It is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir – most often addressing social issues – with the possibility of changing the way we think about writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir.
Highly sought-after for collaborative projects, The Crossing’s first collaboration was as the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival, Italy, in 2007. The Crossing has appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University with the International Contemporary Ensemble; joined Bang on a Can’s first Philadelphia Marathon; and has sung with the American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, Beth Morrison Projects, Dolce Suono, Allora & Calzadilla, Pig Iron Theatre Company and The Rolling Stones. In 2014 they premiered John Luther Adams’ Sila: the breath of the world at Lincoln Center. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana.
The Crossing has presented over 60 commissioned world premieres. Major new works have include Michael Gordon’s Anonymous Man (2017), Michael Gilbertson’s Born (2017) Lansing McLoskey’s Zealot Canticles (2017), John Luther Adams’ Canticles of the Holy Wind (2013, co-commissioned with Kamer), Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century
(2014, written for The Crossing and PRISM), Kile Smith’s The Arc in the Sky (2018), The Consolation of Apollo
(2014) and Vespers (2008, a commission of Piffaro), Stratis Minakakis’ Crossings and Crossings’ Epitaph (2015/2017), David Lang’s statement to the court (2010), Lewis Spratlan’s Hesperus is Phosphorus (2012, co-commissioned with Network for New Music), and Ted Hearne’s Sound From the Bench (2014, co-commissioned with Volti). In 2016, The Crossing presented Seven Responses with new works from Carline Shaw, David T. Little, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Hans Thomalla, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Lewis Spratlan, and Santa Ratniece. In 2016, The Crossing commissioned and presented Jeff Quartets, a rare compilation of quartets from fifteen of the world’s leading composers, presented as a concert-length set of music and collected in an omnibus edition. In June 2019, The Crossing will present its largest project to date – Aniara: fragments of time and space , a collaboration with Kockriketeatern in Helsinki, and composer Robert Maggio. Future projects include composers Julia Wolfe, Toivo Tulev, Daniel Felsenfeld, Gregory Spears, James Primosch, David T. Little, Sebastian Currier, and Aaron Helgeson.
With a commitment to recording their commissions, The Crossing has fourteen commercially-released recordings.Their collaboration with PRISM, Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century (ECM, October 2016), is the winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, and named one of The Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Classical CDs of the 2016. Their recording of Thomas Lloyd’s Bonhoeffer (Albany 2016) was nominated for the 2017 GRAMMY as Best Choral Performance. Additional recordings have been released on Innova, Cantaloupe, and Navona Records.
Winners of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing is the American Composers Forums’ 2017 Champion of New Music. The Crossing’s 2014 commission Sound From The Bench by Ted Hearne was named a 2018 Finalist for the Pulizer Prize in Music. They are the recipient of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award (with composer Joel Puckett) from Chorus America. Donald Nally was awarded the 2017 Michael Korn Award and the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal for his work with The Crossing.
About Donald Nally Donald Nally is responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning, and conducting at The Crossing. He is also the director of choral organizations at Northwestern University where he holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music. Donald has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and for many seasons at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has also served as music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, chorus master at The Chicago Bach Project, and guest conductor throughout Europe and the United States, most notably with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, the Philharmonia Chorus (London), the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Latvian State Choir (Riga).
Donald, with The Crossing, was the American Composers Forum 2017 Champion of New Music; he received the 2017 Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America. He is the only conductor to have two ensembles receive the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Music: in 2002 with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and in 2015 with The Crossing. Collaborations have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, the Barnes Foundation, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the American Composers Orchestra, and The Big Sky Conservatory in Montana where The Crossing holds an annual residency. In the 2017-18 season, he collaborates as guest director with Lisson Gallery (London), The Cathedral Choral Society (Washington, D.C.), Haymarket Opera (Chicago), David Lang’s The Mile Long Opera (on the High Line in New York City), and is visiting resident artist at the Park Avenue Armory.