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The Annenberg Center Will Present The Crossing In New Production Of KNEE PLAYS By Philip Glass And David Byrne

The Annenberg Center Will Present The Crossing In New Production Of KNEE PLAYS By Philip Glass And David Byrne

The Annenberg Center will present Grammya"?-winning new-music choir The Crossing in the premiere of a newly staged theatrical production, Knee Plays, on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 8pm and Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 8pm at the Harold Prince Theatre. The program, part of the Center's #GLASSFEST celebration, features a rare opportunity to hear Knee Plays from Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach and David Byrne's New Orleans-inspired contribution to Robert Wilson's large scale project, the CIVIL warS. The premiere will be narrated by popular Philadelphia actor Dito van Reigersberg.

The production, conceived and led by Donald Nally, explores the Knee Plays' spirit of connection and transformation, and plays with the contrast between the objectivity of Byrne's Knee Plays and the subjectivity of those of Glass. The costumed singers of The Crossing move into roles that stretch their identities, performing on instruments from their past and connecting that past to their present roles among the world's leading choral musicians. Arrangements by The Crossing's assistant conductor Kevin Vondrak echo David Byrne's original orchestrations for Les Miserable Brass Band and are especially adapted - at times virtuosically and at other times with humor - to this eclectic tribe which, all the while, retains the sung word at the center of their art.

This is The Crossing's second program as part of a three-concert residency at the Annenberg Center. The Crossing returns on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 7pm for the world premiere of Michael Gordon's Travel Guide to Nicaragua, co-commissioned by the Annenberg Center and Carnegie Hall.

Program Information

Knee Plays
Presented by the Annenberg Center
Friday, February 21, 2020 at 8pm
Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 8pm
Annenberg Center | 3680 Walnut St. | Philadelphia, PA
Link: https://annenbergcenter.org/event/the-crossing

Program:

Philip Glass - Knee Plays
Created with Robert Wilson, with Texts of Christopher Knowles
David Byrne - The Knee Plays
Texts by Robert Wilson and David Byrne

The Crossing
Conceived and Directed by Donald Nally
Design and Lighting by Eric Southern
Paul Vazquez, Sound Designer
Dito van Reigersberg, Narrator

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 that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir. Many of its nearly 90 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues. With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 19 releases, receiving two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and five Grammy nominations in as many years.

The Crossing collaborates with some of the world's most accomplished ensembles and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, the Annenberg Center, Beth Morrison Projects, Dolce Suono, Allora & Calzadilla, Pig Iron Theatre Company, The Rolling Stones, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom they have appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University in the American premiere of James Dillon's Nine Rivers, Peak Performances at Montclair State University, The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. The Crossing joined Bang on a Can for its first Philadelphia Marathon. Similarly, The Crossing often collaborates with some of the world's most prestigious venues and presenters, such as the Park Avenue Armory, the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania, National Sawdust, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Haarlem Choral Bienalle in The Netherlands, The Kennedy Center in Washington, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Delaware Museum of Art, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space in New York, the WNYC Winter Garden, and Duke, Northwestern, Rowan, Salisbury, Colgate, and Notre Dame Universities. In 2014, they premiered John Luther Adams' Sila: the breath of the world at Lincoln Center with Jack Quartet and eighth blackbird. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana where they are working on an extensive, multi-year project with composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Their concerts are broadcast regularly on WRTI 90.1FM, Philadelphia's Classical and Jazz Public Radio. In the 2019-2020 season The Crossing will return to Carnegie Hall and make debuts at The Met Cloisters in New York, The Mann Center in Philadelphia, and the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki.

The Crossing has presented nearly 90 commissioned world premieres. Major new works have include Michael Gordon's Anonymous Man (2017), Michael Gilbertson's Born (2017), Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Ad genua (2016), Lansing McLoskey's Zealot Canticles (2017), Caroline Shaw's To the Hands (2016), 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), Stratis Minakakis' Crossings Cycle (2015/2017), Gregory Spears' The Tower and the Garden (2019), Gregory Brown's un/bodying/s (2017), David Lang's statement to the court (2010), Lewis Spratlan's Hesperus is Phosphorus (2012, co-commissioned with Network for New Music), from Ted Hearne's Sound From the Bench (2014, co-commissioned with Volti) and Animals (2018, co-commissioned with the Park Avenue Armory), and, from Kile Smith, The Arc in the Sky (2018), The Consolation of Apollo (2014), The Waking Sun (2011), Vespers (2008, a commission of Piffaro), and The Arc in the Sky (2018). In 2019, the women of The Crossing collaborated with The New York Philharmonic on the world premiere of Julia Wolfe's Fire in My Mouth. In 2016, The Crossing presented Seven Responses with new works including those of David T. Little, Hans Thomalla, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and Santa Ratniece. That same year, 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 and collected in an omnibus edition. In June 2019, The Crossing presented its largest project to date, Aniara: fragments of time and space, a collaboration with Klockriketeatern in Helsinki, and composer Robert Maggio. Future projects include composers Edie Hill, Tawnie Olson, Daniel Felsenfeld, Tawnie Olson, Harold Meltzer, Stacy Garrop, Jacob Cooper, David Shapiro, Aaron Helgeson, Martin Bresnick, Caroline Shaw, Gabriel Kahane, and Marcos Balter.

The Crossing's recordings of Robert Convery and Benjamin Boyle's Voyages (August 2019, Innova) and Kile Smith's The Arc in the Sky (July 2019, Navona) were both nominated for 2020 Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance. Lansing McLoskey's Zealot Canticles won the 2019 Grammy and Thomas Lloyd's Bonhoeffer (Albany 2016) was nominated for the 2017 Grammy, both as Best Choral Performance. The Crossing's collaboration with PRISM, Gavin Bryars' The Fifth Century (ECM, October 2016), was 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.

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 Pulitzer Prize in Music. They were 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. Learn more at www.crossingchoir.org

Photo Credit: Christian Stewart


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