The Crossing Presents THE TOWER AND THE GARDEN at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill

The Crossing Presents THE TOWER AND THE GARDEN at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill

Winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, led by conductor Donald Nally, presents The Tower and The Garden on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. The evening features two world premieres, including Gregory Spears' The Tower and the Garden and Philadelphia composer James Primosch's new work Carthage. The concert also includes other works written for The Crossing, Joel Puckett's dizzying I enter the earth (2015), and Toivo Tulev's A child said, what is the grass? (2015).

Spears' The Tower and the Garden is a setting of three poems for choir and strings based on texts of Thomas Merton and Denise Levertov that explore the relationship between technological innovation and its dangers that can often lead to haunting sociological change. The texts juxtapose the dangers of unchecked technological advancement (the tower) and the need for a place of refuge (the garden) in a world threatened by war and ecological disaster. Each text is written by (or about) artists who used Catholic thought or Catholic imagery to challenge the status quo. James Primosch's Carthage sets an excerpt from Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, an exploration of the balancing effect of desire and longing on our lives.

A pre-concert talk with Donald Nally, Gregory Spears, James Primosch, and Joel Puckett takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel.

Tickets: $35 General Admission, $25 Seniors, $20 Students
Link: https://www.crossingchoir.org/events/2018/6/12/the-tower-and-the-garden

Program:
Gregory Spears - The Tower and The Garden (World Premiere)
James Primosch - Housekeeping (World Premiere)
Joel Puckett - I enter the earth
Toivo Tulev - A child said, what is the grass?

The commissioning of Gregory Spears' The Tower and the Garden by The Crossing, Cantori New York, Notre Dame Vocale, and Volti was made possible by the support of The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music.

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 that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir. Many of its over seventy commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.

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, with whom they have appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. They joined Bang on a Can for its first Philadelphia Marathon; and have sung with the LA Philharmonic, 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. Venues include National Sawdust, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, The Kennedy Center in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Northwestern University, Colgate University, and the Winter Garden in New York with WNYC. 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 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, 90.1 FM, Philadelphia's Classical and Jazz Public Radio. In the 2018-19 season they will make their debut at the New York Philharmonic, Park Avenue Armory, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University.

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), 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 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), Ted Hearne's Sound From the Bench (2014, co-commissioned with Volti) and, from Kile Smith, The Arc in the Sky (2018), The Consolation of Apollo (2014), The Waking Sun (2011), and Vespers (2008, a commission of Piffaro). 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 will present 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 Julia Wolfe, Toivo Tulev, Edie Hill, Daniel Felsenfeld, Gregory Spears, Tawnie Olson, James Primosch, Stacy Garrop, Jacob Cooper, and Aaron Helgeson.

With a commitment to recording their commissions, The Crossing has fifteen commercially-released recordings. Their 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. 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.

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.

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.

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