The Crossing Opens Season with ‘Returning,’ Feat. Music by Woods, Gilbertson, Ešenvalds, and Primosch

release by Sasan Pix

Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing, led by conductor Donald Nally, opens its 2021-2022 season with Returning on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 7:00pm at their home, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, The Crossing will perform signature works of the recent past: Ayanna Woods’ SHIFT, Michael Gilbertson’s Returning, Eriks Ešenvalds’ Earth Teach Me Quiet with percussionist Ted Babcock, “Gloria” and “Agnus Dei” from James Primosch’s Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, and John Tavener’s Funeral Ikos. Donald Nally will lead a pre-concert talk in the Burleigh Cruikshank Memorial Chapel and a homecoming gathering at Widener Hall immediately follows the program.

Nally says, “Returning is a celebration of works we love, sung with artists and for people we love, marking a time of isolation, grief, confusion, hope, and returning.”

The Crossing premiered Ayanna Woods’ Shift digitally with film on November 2, 2020, the day before the general election. Subsequently, the expanded version premiered at The Crossing’s Month of Moderns in June 2021 and its residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky Montana this month. Woods has written the words for this bold new piece in which she contemplates the reimagining of our monuments, building through layers to its climactic arrival, “bursting through the cracks in the story you tell, America.” Watch the Shift film, part of The Crossing’s 2020 Election Films series.

Michael Gilbertson’s 20-minute Returning is loosely based on the biblical story of Jonathan and David; exploring what draws one human to another. It reflects The Crossing’s season theme: return / emerge / remember. Earth Teach Me Quiet by Eriks Ešenvalds is featured on the ensemble’s critically acclaimed live album Rising w/ The Crossing (New Focus 2020), named NPR’s December 2020 album of the month, and the track was named one of The New York Times’ 25 Best Classical Tracks of 2020.

The program continues with two movements, “Gloria” and “Agnus Dei” from James Primosch’s Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, which was written for The Crossing in 2014, featured on the ensemble’s 2020 album CARTHAGE (Parma), and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Choral Recording. Finally, Funeral Ikos by John Tavener, a work that reaches back to the ensemble’s beginnings and their residency at the Spoleto Festival in Italy in 2007, remembers those we have lost.

Program Information
Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 7:00pm
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Ave | Philadelphia, PA 19118
Tickets: General Admission $35, Seniors $25, Students $20

ERIKS EŠENVALDS: Earth Teach Me Quiet
JAMES PRIMOSCH: Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus: Gloria and Agnus Dei
JOHN TAVENER: Funeral Ikos

The Crossing
Donald Nally, conductor
Ted Babcock, percussion

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