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Grammy-Winning Choir The Crossing Presents THE MONTH OF MODERNS 2022

Annual festival features World Premieres by Marcos Balter, Aaron Helgeson, Tawnie Olson, and David Shapiro.

Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, presents its annual summer festival of new music, The Month of Moderns 2022, featuring three concerts on June 11, June 25, and July 8, 2022 at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia.

The Crossing will present the world premieres of Marcos Balter's Book of Colors and Aaron Helgeson's The Book of Never on June 11, 2022; the world premiere of Tawnie Olson's Beloved of the Sky and the US premiere of Chaya Czernowin's Unhistoric Acts, joined by the renowned JACK Quartet on June 25, 2022; and the world premiere of David Shapiro's Sumptuous Planet: A Secular Mass, with texts of Richard Dawkins on July 8, 2022.

The Month of Moderns 2022 launches with The Books of Color and of Never on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 7:00pm at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. The program features world premieres by Marcos Balter and Aaron Helgeson. A pre-concert talk with Donald Nally and the composers will take place at 6:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel.

History lies deep in the origins of Helgeson's The Book of Never, an adaptation of the Novgorod Codex, a wooden book of psalms from 999 believed to be owned by a monk sent to convert the village of Novgorod (in what is now Ukraine) from Paganism to Orthodox Christianity. After his excommunication, the monk focused on preserving history of the village through writing and overwriting many layers in the Codex, a technique that Helgeson masters musically as he overlays these ancient texts of Novgorod with 20th-century writers Wilde, Neruda, Stein, Angela Davis, and Thanhha Lai. The Book of Never is commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. Balter's work, drawing on his signature rhythmic energy and ingenuity, uses Jude Stewart's book ROY G BIV as a stepping-off point to an exploration of color in our lives; how it lifts us, changes us, makes connections, and inspires thought.

The festival continues with Unhistoric Acts on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 5:00pm, also at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, featuring the world premiere of Tawnie Olson's Beloved of the Sky and the US premiere of Chaya Czernowin's Unhistoric Acts, joined by the acclaimed JACK Quartet. A pre-concert talk with Donald Nally and the composers will be held at 4:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel.

Continuing the exploration of color from The Books of Color and of Never, Beloved of the Sky takes inspiration from Canadian artist Emily Carr's journals, a set of highly-concentrated cameos of the lonely, eccentric artist who wrote words to affirm her value in the face of hurt and misunderstanding. Olson translates Carr's ideas into musical vignettes, where words and paint seem to intermingle. Beloved of the Sky is commissioned for The Crossing, Seraphic Fire, and Brigham Young University by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. JACK Quartet joins The Crossing for Unhistoric Acts, Czernowin's titanic synthesis of disparate quotations originating during the pandemic. In Czernowin's bold musical strokes, we hear worlds of outrage, fear, intimacy, and defiance as she draws from George Eliott's aphorism, "for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts."

Closing The Month of Moderns 2022 on Friday, July 8, 2022 at 7:00pm is The Book of Dawkins Songs. Held at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, the evening features the world premiere of Sumptuous Planet: A Secular Mass by David Shapiro, an expression of belief about the nature of life and the joy found in understanding it, centered on texts of famed biologist Richard Dawkins. A pre-concert talk with Donald Nally and David Shaphiro will take place at 4:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel.

Told through Dawkins' decidedly secular world view, Sumptuous Planet: A Secular Mass is paradoxically organized by Shapiro in the shape of a Christian Mass. The new work captures Dawkins' thoughts on the magnificence and staggering beauty of nature, as well as its utter indifference to our presence. Shapiro's musical world is one of anticipation and question - there is always another dimension we are invited to consider, to expect, to seek.


Performance Information
The Month of Moderns 2022

Month of Moderns 1: The Books of Color and of Never
Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 7:00pm
Pre-concert talk at 6:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel
Post-concert reception on the front lawn of the church
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Ave | Philadelphia, PA 19118
Tickets: $35 General Admission, $25 Senior, $20 Student
Link: https://www.crossingchoir.org/events/2021-22/mom1

Program:
Marcos Balter: Book of Colors [World Premiere]
Aaron Helgeson: The Book of Never [World Premiere]

Month of Moderns 2: Unhistoric Acts
Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 5:00pm
Pre-concert talk at 4:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel
Post-concert reception on the front lawn of the church
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Ave | Philadelphia, PA 19118
Tickets: $35 General Admission, $25 Senior, $20 Student
Link: https://www.crossingchoir.org/events/2021-22/mom2

Program:
Chaya Czernowin: Unhistoric Acts [US Premiere]
with JACK Quartet
Tawnie Olson: Beloved of the Sky [World Premiere]

Month of Moderns 3: The Book of Dawkins Songs
Friday, July 8, 2022 at 7:00pm
Pre-concert talk at 6:00pm in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel
Post-concert reception on the front lawn of the church
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Ave | Philadelphia, PA 19118
Tickets: $35 General Admission, $25 Senior, $20 Student
Link: https://www.crossingchoir.org/events/2021-22/mom3

Program:
David Shapiro: Sumptuous Planet: A Secular Mass [World Premiere]
on texts of Richard Dawkins

Proof of vaccination and wearing masks while indoors are required to attend The Month of Moderns 2022.


About The Crossing
The Crossing is a Grammy Award-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 that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir. Many of its nearly 140 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.

The Crossing collaborates with some of the world's most accomplished ensembles and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Beth Morrison Projects, Allora & Calzadilla, Bang on a Can, Klockriketeatern, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Similarly, The Crossing often collaborates with some of world's most prestigious venues and presenters, such as the Park Avenue Armory, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, National Sawdust, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Haarlem Choral Biennale in The Netherlands, The Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, The Kennedy Center in Washington, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space in New York, Winter Garden with WNYC, and Duke, Northwestern, Colgate, and Notre Dame Universities. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana.

With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 24 releases, receiving two GRAMMY Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and seven Grammy nominations. The Crossing, with Donald Nally, was the American Composers Forum's 2017 Champion of New Music. They were the recipients of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America.

Recently, The Crossing has expanded its choral presentation to film, working with Four/Ten Media, in-house sound designer Paul Vazquez of Digital Mission Audio Services, visual artists Brett Snodgrass and Steven Bradshaw, and composers David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Paul Fowler on live and animated versions of new and existing works. Lang's protect yourself from infection and in nature as well as Paul Fowler's Obligations, based on a poem of Layli Long Soldier, were specifically created to be within the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Crossing's pandemic response daily series, Rising w/ The Crossing, a series of 72 live performances with notes by Nally, has been archived by the Library of Congress as "an important part of the collection and the historical record."

The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artist Management. All of its concerts are broadcast on WRTI, Philadelphia's Classical and Jazz public radio station. Learn more at www.crossingchoir.org.

*Artwork at top of release by Sasan Pix



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