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The Crossing Releases New Film OBLIGATIONS


This is composer Paul Fowler's fourth work written for The Crossing.

The Crossing Releases New Film OBLIGATIONS

GRAMMY-winning new-music choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, today releases a new 13-minute film Obligations, recorded at home by the artists in isolation. In-house sound designer Paul Vazquez worked with composer Paul Fowler to overlay over 300 sound files and text by Oglala Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier to bring to life Fowler's chamber-like, transparent score for 24 individual voices. Obligations completes a trilogy of pandemic-time collaborations with filmmaker Brett Snodgrass and serves as a transition from works produced in isolation to the return of live singing as The Crossing prepares for The Month of Moderns 2021, opening June 3 and running through June 19 - all in person outdoors in Pennsylvania.

Of his film, Snodgrass writes: "It's about healing. The primary metaphor is above and below, heaven and earth, struggle and transcendence, shown in the black horizon, the X shape or mirrored triangles (symbols for earth/heaven and domicile) and the unfurling braided hair, which spreads to the other suffering forms. The entire piece is inhabited by the gold color of morning: new start, new day. It begins with a reference to a creation story and ends in a blooming prairie pasque flower, the first flower of spring. At its start and close is an elemental figure whose story is yet to be told." The new work is dedicated to filmmaker Brett Snodgrass's father and sound designer Paul Vazquez's mother, who both passed away during the making of Obligations.

This is composer Paul Fowler's fourth work written for The Crossing. Previous commissions include Breath, appearing on the ensemble's first solo album, It is Time; Echoes, for the treble-voice album I want to live; and First Pink, a memorial to co-founder Jeff Dinsmore.

Obligations is the tenth and final film of The Crossing's 2020-2021 season, which also included Ayanna Woods' Shift; Nicholas Cline's she took his hands; Robert Maggio's Democracy; David Lang's stateless, protect yourself from infection, and in nature; Michael Gordon's "One day I saw" from Anonymous Man; Donald Nally and Kevin Vondrak's The Forest; and Donald Nally's You can Plan on Me. Obligations is supported by a gift from Carol Westfall.

Oglala Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier is a writer, feminist, artist, and activist. She is the author of WHEREAS (Graywolf Press, 2017), which won the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and was short-listed for the National Book Award. Layli has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and a Whiting Writers' Award.

Composer and vocalist Paul Fowler is based in Boulder, Colorado, where he teaches at Naropa University. His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the National Concert Hall of Taiwan, and Japan's Suntory Hall among others, and have been featured at Music from Angel Fire, Norway's Borealis Festival, the MATA Festival, and Belgium's International Marimba Festival.

Filmmaker Brett Snodgrass has thirty years' experience designing for a wide range of genres: film & television, theater, opera, industrial theater and video presentations, commercials, photo editorials, stop motion and puppet presentations, and architectural installations. His work has been seen on Showtime, Amazon, PBS, Cartoon Network, on Disney Digital Media, in the pages of Playboy, on HBO, on stages from New York to Chicago to Branson, Missouri, and in film festivals across the country.

The Crossing's sound designer, Paul Vazquez, is a veteran of location recording, routinely recording for artists across wide ranging genres. Labels include Sony, Glassnote, Windup, Innova, Navona, and New Focus, recording in venues from New York City to Washington D.C. to Bozeman, Montana - including Bowery Ballroom, Le Poisson Rouge, Mercury Lounge, Highline Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, National Cathedral, 9:30 Club and more. Paul has engineered and produced multiple Grammy-nominated and winning records, including The Crossing's Grammy-winning Zealot Canticles.

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 120 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 six 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 past live performances with notes by Donald 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

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