The Crossing (choral ensemble)

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The Crossing
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Chorus
Years active 2005–present
Members Jessica Beebe, Graham Bier, Julie Bishop, Kelly Ann Bixby, Karen Blanchard, Steven Bradshaw, Maren Montalbano Brehm, Veronica Chapman-Smith, Peter Christian, Malcolm Cooper, Scott Dettra, Colin Dill, Micah Dingler, Ryan Fleming, Joanna Gates, Steven Gearhart, Fiona Gillespie, John Grecia, Levi Hernandez, Barbara Hill, Rebecca Myers Hoke, Steven Hyder, Heather Kayan, Kevin Krasinski, Heidi Kurtz, Ken Lovett, Jeffrey Manns, Louis Menendez, Vincent Metallo, Frank Mitchell, Donald Nally, Dan O'Dea, Rebecca Oehlers, Ellen Grace Peters, James Reese, Daniel Schwartz, Rebecca Siler, Jennah Delp Somers, Stephen Spinelli, Daniel Spratlan, Elisa Sutherland, Dan Taylor, Karen Wapner, Laura Ward, Jackson Williams, Shari Alise Wilson

The Crossing is an American professional chamber choir, conducted by Donald Nally and based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It focuses on new music, commission and premiere works, and collaborates with various venues and instrumental ensembles.

Consistently recognized in critical reviews, in 2014, the ensemble was hailed as "ardently angelic" by the Los Angeles Times[1] and "something of a miracle" by The Philadelphia Inquirer.[2]


Formed by a group of friends in 2005, the ensemble has since grown and according to The New York Times in 2014, "has made a name for itself in recent years as a champion of new music".[3]

The choir was the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival, Italy, in 2007; appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University in the American premiere of James Dillon's Nine Rivers with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); joined Bang on a Can's first Philadelphia Marathon; and has appeared with the American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, red fish blue fish, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, Dolce Suono, and in the summer of 2013, The Rolling Stones.

The ensemble has sung in venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; it made its Lincoln Center debut in July 2014 in a world premiere of a composition by John Luther Adams in a collaboration with the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, eighth blackbird, JACK Quartet, and TILT Brass.

The choir frequently commissions works and has presented over forty world premieres. Upcoming[when?] projects include commissions with Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, David T. Little, Joel Puckett, Santa Ratniece, Caroline Shaw, Kile Smith, Lewis Spratlan, Hans Thomalla, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Toivo Tulev.

Innova Recordings carries two recordings of the ensemble: Christmas Daybreak, with world premiere recordings of James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson; and I Want to Live, with the complete choral works for women by David Lang. It also has three recordings on the Navona Records label: Kile Smith's Vespers, with Piffaro; It Is Time, with commissioned works on poetry of Paul Celan; and Moonstrung Air: Choral Music of Gregory Brown.

The choir is the recipient of two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America; conductor Donald Nally also received the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal for his work with the ensemble.

In December 2014, the ensemble began a collaboration with visual artists Allora & Calzadilla in their largest U.S. exhibition to date, Intervals, at the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Fabric Workshop and Museum. This included over 300 performances of David Lang's Lifespan as well as monthly performances of In the Midst of Things, a fifteen-minute unaccompanied re-imagining of moments from Franz Joseph Haydn's The Creation (1798).

Month of Moderns[edit]

In 2009, the ensemble established an annual festival, held in the early summer, consisting of three new-music concerts in one month, with several commissioned works based on a central theme tying the entire festival together.

The theme for Month of Moderns 2009 was The Celan Project, works based on the poetry of Paul Celan.

Month of Moderns 2010 featured The Levine Project, works based on or inspired by the words of Pulitzer-Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. "Seneca Sounds" was the focus for Month of Moderns 2011, with works based on the words and philosophy of Seneca the Younger.

Month of Moderns 2012 was centered on Modern Vespers, works fashioned after the ancient evening prayer service, cast in modern themes and musical languages.

A much larger project, The Gulf (Between You and Me), based on a three-part commissioned poem by Pierre Joris inspired by the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, dominated Month of Moderns 2013.

Month of Moderns 2014 included five major commissioned world premieres loosely based around Novalis's poem Astralis questioning our existence and eternity.

Death of co-founder Jeffrey Dinsmore[edit]

In April 2014, Crossing co-founder Jeffrey Dinsmore died at age 42; he was preparing for a rehearsal with The Crossing and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall. The ensemble subsequently established The Jeffrey Dinsmore Memorial Fund.

Commissioned world premieres[edit]

U.S. premieres[edit]

Major performances[edit]


  • ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming 2009 and 2011
  • Dale Warland Singers Commissioning Award from Chorus America 2013
  • Philadelphia Inquirer "Best Events in Classical Music 2008" for Kile Smith's Vespers (David Patrick Stearns)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer "Best Events in Classical Music 2009" for Month of Moderns (David Patrick Stearns)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer "Best Events in Classical Music 2011" for world premiere of Seneca's Zodiac (David Patrick Stearns)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer "Best Events in Classical Music 2014" for Month of Moderns (David Patrick Stearns)
  • Fanfare Magazine "Best Recordings of 2009" for Kile Smith's Vespers (Peter Burwasser)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Swed, Mark (April 21, 2014). [1]. Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (July 14, 2014). [2]. The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  3. ^ Schweitzer, Vivian (February 21, 2014). [3]. The New York Times.

External links[edit]