Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Dan Nally and The Crossing chamber choir (photo by Mark Cont).
Grammy Award-winning chamber choir The Crossing, conducted by Bienen School director of choral organizations Donald Nally, will visit Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music in Evanston from March 12 to 16. The Crossing will collaborate with conducting and composition students as well as choral ensembles and conclude their residency with a performance featuring the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble (BCE).
In January, The Crossing won a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their recording Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century. The recording also features the PRISM Quartet (of which Bienen School associate professor of saxophone Taimur Sullivan is a member).
The concert includes two commissioned works exploring poverty and inequality. Anonymous Man, by Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon, describes disparate views of “home” in a neighborhood where some live on the street and some live in it. BCE joins The Crossing for a performance of Gabriel Jackson’s “Rigwreck,” a haunting meditation on power and money that is based on a poem by Pierre Joris.
“Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble has developed into a very rare university ensemble: fearless and yet vulnerable,” said Nally. “Thus, it is only natural that at some point, the Northwestern ensemble and the professional ensemble it is designed after, The Crossing, should come together and, for a moment, share the stage. So, here we are. That moment.
“Both works display the type of subtle social advocacy in music that BCE and The Crossing explore regularly,” Nally said. “We hope audiences will take the performance not as a virtuosic display, but as a deeply felt and genuinely offered meditation on the complex world in which we are living.”
Conducted by Nally, The Crossing is a professional chamber choir dedicated to new music. Since its founding in 2005, the ensemble has presented more than 60 commissioned world premieres by composers including Michael Gordon, Lansing McLoskey, John Luther Adams, Kile Smith and David Lang, among others.
The ensemble has 13 commercially released albums and has received the 2017 American Composers Forum’s Champion of New Music, the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, to name a few of their accolades.
Conductor Nally is a recipient of the 2017 Michael Korn Award and the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal.
Tickets for the March 16 performance are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with a valid ID. They may be purchased at the Bienen School of Music box office, located in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; online at concertsatbienen.org; or by phone at 847-467-4000.For more information, visit concertsatbienen.org or call the Bienen School Concert Management Office at 847-491-5441.