The Crossing (choral ensemble)

The Crossing
Origin Philadelphia, PA
Genres Chorus
Years active 2005-present
Labels Navona Records
Karen Blanchard, Steven Bradshaw, Maren Montalbano Brehm, Veronica Chapman-Smith, Jennah Delp, Scott Dettra, Colin Dill, Micah Dingler, Jeff Dinsmore, Ryan Fleming, Anne Fuchs, Steven Gearhart, John Grecia, Chris Hodges, Leslie Johnson, Heidi Kurtz, Vincent Metallo, Frank Mitchell, Donald Nally, Rebecca Oehlers, Rebecca Siler, Stephen Spinelli, Dan Spratlan, Karen Wapner, Shari Alise Wilson
Past members
Jeff Chapman, Rob Philips, Erin Westmaas, Steven Ziegler

The Crossing is a professional chamber choir in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. They focus on new music, commission and premiere works, and collaborate with other Philadelphia ensembles.

The Crossing gave their first concert in November 2005 when a group of friends who had previously worked together with conductor Donald Nally in Italy and Philadelphia reunited to sing a concert at Saint Mark’s Church, Philadelphia. A year later, they took up residency at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, which remains their host today. They have sung a full season of three or more concerts each year since.

The Crossing has evoked overwhelming critical response from the Philadelphia newspapers, calling Nally "a musical treasure whose local ties should be maintained and sustained at all costs,[1]" and the ensemble "an answered prayer[2]" to Philadelphia musicians.

In 2009, The Crossing gave the opening concert for Chorus America’s National Conference in Philadelphia. It has received the 2009 and 2011 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming from Chorus America. The Crossing has produced two recordings to date under the Navona Records label: Kile Smith's Vespers – with Piffaro, The Renaissance Band – and It Is Time, a collection of new works on words of Philip Levine (U.S. Poet Laureate 2011-12) and Paul Celan, including works (commissioned by The Crossing) by Kirsten Broberg, Paul Fowler, David Shapiro, and Kile Smith. In addition to these composers, the Crossing has commissioned works by Benjamin C.S. Boyle, William Brooks, Gene Coleman, Eriks Esenvalds, Kamran Ince, Gabriel Jackson, Chris Jonas, David Lang, Andrew Gant, Lansing McLoskey, Lewis Spratlan (co-commissioned with Philadelphia’s Network for New Music), and Joby Talbot and has presented American premieres of works by Ešenvalds, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Frank Havrøy, Bo Holten, Erhard Karkoschka, James MacMillan, and Francis Pott.

The Crossing counts among its collaborators International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lyric Fest, Network for New Music, Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, and Tempesta di Mare. David Patrick Stearns, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, has called The Crossing “Philadelphia’s best chorus[3]”; it is been named to the Inquirer’s Top Ten Classical Events of 2008[4] and 2009[5]. The Philadelphia Classical and Jazz Radio Station WRTI will begin broadcasting all of The Crossing’s concerts in December 2011. The Crossing has been the recipient of three major grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project.


Month of Moderns

In 2009, The Crossing 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 the 2009 Month of Moderns was the "Celan Project:" works based on the poetry of Paul Celan. The 2010 Month of Moderns brought the "Levine Project," works based on the words of Pulitzer-Prize winner and now U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. "Seneca Sounds" was the theme for the 2011 Month of Moderns, works based on the words and philosophy of Seneca the Younger. The theme for Month of Moderns 2012 will be “Modern Vespers” – works fashioned after the ancient evening prayer service, cast in modern themes and musical languages.

Commissioned World Premieres

  • Benjamin C.S. Boyle: Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beth (2005)
  • Benjamin C.S. Boyle: Lo, how a rose e'er blooming (2006)
  • Kirsten Broberg: Breathturn (The Celan Project 2009)
  • Eriks Esenvalds: Seneca's Zodiac (Seneca Sounds 2011)
  • Paul Fowler: Breath (The Levine Project 2010)
  • Paul Fowler: Echoes (2011)
  • Andrew Gant: What child is this (SATB version) (2007)
  • Gabriel Jackson: According to Seneca (Seneca Sounds 2011)
  • David Lang: Statement to the Court (The Levine Project 2010)
  • Lansing McLoskey: The Memory of Rain (The Levine Project 2010)
  • David Shapiro: The Years from You to Me (The Celan Project 2010)
  • Kile Smith: The Waking Sun (Seneca Sounds 2011)
  • Kile Smith: Vespers (commissioned by Piffaro, The Renaissance Band in collaboration with The Crossing) (2008)
  • Kile Smith: Where flames a word (The Celan Project 2009)

U.S. Premieres

  • Ēriks Ešenvalds: Sun Dogs
  • Ēriks Ešenvalds: Legend of the Walled-In Woman
  • Ēriks Ešenvalds: Long Road
  • Frank Havrøy: Psalm
  • Bo Holten: A Time For Everything
  • Erhard Karkoschka: Vier kleine Finalsätze zu “Es ist ein Schnitter, heisst der Tod”
  • Erhard Karkoschka: Variationen mit Celan-Gedichten III
  • Paul Spicer: How love bleeds

Major Performances

  • National Conference of Chorus America – Opening Concert, Philadelphia, June 2009
  • Month of Moderns 2009: Jody Talbot’s Path of Miracles (multi-media)
  • Crossing @ Winter 2010: Regional premiere of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion (2008 Pulitzer Prize)


  • ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming 2009 & 2011
  • 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)
  • Fanfare Magazine “Best Recordings of 2009” for Kile Smith’s Vespers (Peter Burwasser)



  1. ^ Caruso, Michael (September 14, 2006). [1] Chestnut Hill Local.
  2. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (November 10, 2005). "Choral group, in debut, sings works seldom heard". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  3. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (January 8, 2008). "Phila. composer beautifully blends old and new" Philadelphia Inquirer.
  4. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (December 14, 2008). "David Patrick Stearns' Classical Selections." Philadelphia Inquirer, p. H06.
  5. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (December 13, 2009). "David Patrick Stearns' Best in Classical Music for 2009." Philadelphia Inquirer, p. H11.

External links

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