The Crossing Announces its 2021-22 Season Featuring Six World Premieres

By Chris Ruel

The Crossing, led by conductor Donald Nally, has announced its 2021-22 season. Here’s a look at what’s in store for audiences.

Opening the season will be “Returning,” a concert marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The program will comprise popular repertoire by Ayanna Woods, Michael Gilbertson, Ēriks Ešenvalds, and James Primosch with percussionist Ted Babcock. A post-concert homecoming gathering will follow the performance in Widener Hall. The concert will take place at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, home of the Philadelphia-based choir.

Performance Date: Sep. 11, 2021 at 7:00 pm

The choir will be celebrating 21st-century American life with “Motion Studies,” kicking off an evening of song with the world premiere of Justine F. Chen’s “Shallow Breath and Stealth.” The concert will take place at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Chen’s work is based on Jena Osman’s poem, “Motion Studies.”

Osman will do a special reading a few days prior to the performance, with the venue to be announced at a later date. Saxophonist Matthew Levy will perform with The Crossing for Nicholas Cline’s “Watersheds.” Rounding out the program will be the world premiere of Gabriel Kahane’s “Choral Music.”

Performance Date: Nov. 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm

Osman Poetry Reading Special Event: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm

In celebration of Christmas, The Crossing will be presenting “The Crossing @ Christmas: Carols after a Plague” The concert premieres will take place at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in College Park Maryland, and presented by The Clarice Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland before moving on to The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, presented by the Annenberg Center before the choir returns to The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.

The performances will feature several world premieres by Leila Adu, Ambrose Akinmusire, Alex Berko, Edith Canat de Chizy, Viet Cuong, Samantha Fernando, Mary Jane Leach, Shara Nova, Joseph C. Phillips Jr., Nina Shekhar, Tyshawn Sorey, and LJ White.

Performance Dates:

College Park, Maryland: Dec. 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm,

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: Dec. 17, 2021 at 7:00 pm

The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill: Dec. 19, 2021 at 5:00 pm

Following the holidays, the choir kicks off an East Coast tour with the Dublin Guitar Quartet. Together they will perform Nico Muhly’s “How Little You Are,” which will be followed by music by Philip Glass and Bryce Dessner. The Crossing will also be performing signature unaccompanied works by Ayanna Woods and Caroline Shaw. Venue, dates, and times will become available on The Crossing website after Sept. 1.

Performance Dates: Jan. 27-Feb. 26, 2022

The Crossing will be presenting “In a House Besieged” featuring the world premiere of Stacy Garrop’s work of the same name. The concert will also feature Arvo Pärt and Lansing McLoskey’s “The Memory of Rain” based on poems by Philip Levine. Organist Scott Dettra will be performing all four works. The tour begins in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland Museum of Art before heading to Pittsburgh’s Shadyside Presbyterian Church, and finishing at St. Mark’s Church in Philadelphia.

Performance Dates: 

Cleveland: Mar. 25, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Pittsburgh: Mar. 26, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Philadelphia: Mar. 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Rounding out the season, The Crossing’s new music festival “The Month of Moderns” will be held at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill during June and July 2022. The festival is divided into three parts. “Month of Moderns 1 – The Book of Colors,” will feature Brazilian composer Marcos Balter’s “Book of Colors.” “Month of Moderns 2 – The Book of Never,” showcases the world premieres of Aaron Helgeson’s “The Book of Never” and Tawnie Olsen’s “Beloved of the Sky,” as well as the U.S. premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s “Unhistoric Acts” with the JACK Quartet.

The festival concludes with “Month of Moderns 3 – The Book of Dawkins Songs,” which will feature the world premiere of David Shapiro’s “Sumptuous Planet: A Dawkins Mass.”

Performance Dates:

“Month of Moderns 1 – The Book of Colors” – June 11, 2022 at 6:00 pm

“Month of Moderns 2 – The Book of Never” – June 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

“Month of Moderns 1 – The Songs of Dawkins” – July 13, 2022 at 7:00 pm