the crossing

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The Crossing is a 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.

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Highly sought-after for collaborative projects, The Crossing’s first collaboration was as the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival, Italy, in 2007. Collaborations are now an important aspect of their work; The Crossing has appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University in the American premiere of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); 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.

The Crossing has sung at Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, National Sawdust, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, The Barnes Foundation, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Northwestern University. In 2014 they premiered John Luther Adams’ Sila: the breath of the world at Lincoln Center in a collaboration with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, eighth blackbird, Jack Quartet, and TILT brass and returned to Mostly Mozart with the International Contemporary Ensemble for Seven Responses in 2016. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana.

Upcoming collaborations include the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Park Avenue Armory, Peak Performances, Annenberg Center Live, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Duke University, Notre Dame University, and Helsinki’s Klockriketeatern.

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The Crossing has presented over seventy 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’ Epitaphs (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 – contemporary responses to Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri – 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, Stacy Garrop, Jacob Cooper, Michael Gordon, Gavin Bryars, Marcos Balter, Daniel Felsenfeld, Gregory Spears, James Primosch, David T. Little, and Aaron Helgeson.

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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; it was 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. In February 2018 they released If There Were Water (Innova), featuring new works by Gregory W. Brown and Stratis Minakakis. In February 2017 they released Clay Jug: music of Edie Hill (Navona), followed by Ted Hearne’s Sound from the Bench in March (Cantaloupe) and John Luther Adams’ Cantles of the Holy Wind in May (Cantaloupe). Previously released recordings include Lewis Spratlan’s Vespers Cantata: Hesperus is Phosphorus (Innova, 2015, with Network for New Music); Moonstrung Air (choral music of Gregory Brown, Navona, 2015); Christmas Daybreak (Innova, 2011, with world premiere recordings of James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson); I want to live (Innova, 2011, with the complete to-date choral works for women by David Lang); and It is Time (Navona, 2008, featuring music commissioned for our first Month of Moderns). 

Their recordings have been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Opera News, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gramophone, Fanfare, and many more journals.  

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Winners of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, with Donald Nally, was 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. The Crossing has been named in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Top Classical Events of the Season numerous times.