Tags for: The Crossing
  • Performance
The Crossing

The Crossing

Friday, March 25, 2022, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
Location:  Gartner Auditorium
Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

The Crossing is a 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 110 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues. The Crossing have received two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019) and six Grammy nominations.

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, Toshimaru Nakamura, Beth Morrison Projects, Allora & Calzadilla, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. The choir also collaborates with some of the world’s most prestigious venues and presenters, such as the Park Avenue Armory, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Stacy Garrop. Photo credit: Darrell Hoemann Photography

This concert features the world premiere of a work by composer Stacy Garrop, commissioned in honor of Robert G. Schneider (1953–2018), longtime choir teacher, organist, and beloved member of the Cleveland music community. Garrop’s new work is expressly for choir and organ, Bob Schneider’s two greatest passions.

Garrop’s music is centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling, believing that the sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity.

She served as the first Emerging Opera Composer of Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Program (2018–20) and held a three-year composer-in-residence position with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra (2016–19). She has received numerous awards and grants, including an Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fromm Music Foundation Grant, and the Barlow Prize.

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Scott Dettra. Photo credit: William Geiger

Praised as a “brilliant organist” (Dallas Morning News), an “outstanding musician” (The Diapason), and described as a “prodigy” by the New York Times at age 13, Scott Dettra is acclaimed as one of America’s leading concert organists. He combines an active performance schedule with his post as director of music at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, where he leads a vibrant music ministry in one the country’s largest Episcopal parishes. In addition to his work at Incarnation, he is a member of the organ faculty at Southern Methodist University, and organist of the Crossing. Prior to his appointment in Dallas, he was organist of Washington National Cathedral.

The Robert G. Schneider Memorial Commission is supported by the Musart Society, the museum’s affiliate group for performing arts.

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Program

The Crossing
Donald Nally, conductor

with Scott Dettra, organ

In A House Besieged

Act 1
i. not so much watching as waiting

The Memory of Rain (2010)Lansing D. McLoskey

ii. It seemed perfectly familiar to her

Salve Regina (2001)Arvo Pärt

Intermission

Act 2
holding her hands over her ears

In a House Besieged (2021)Stacy Garrop

world premiere

  • Prologue
  • I. A Natural Disaster
  • II. Almost No Memory
  • III. The Cottages
  • IV. Order
  • V. In a House Besieged
  • Epilogue

Commissioned by the Cleveland Museum of Art,
with generous support of the Musart Society,
in honor of Robert G. Schneider.
Written for The Crossing, Donald Nally, and Scott Dettra.

THE CROSSING
Katy Avery
Nathaniel Barnett
Karen Blanchard
Steven Bradshaw
Danielle Buonaiuto
Colin Dill
Micah Dingler
Joanna Gates
Dimitri German
Dominic German
Steven Hyder
Anika Kildegaard
Chelsea Lyons
Maren Montalbano
Rebecca Myers
Daniel O’Dea
Daniel Schwartz
Rebecca Siler
Tiana Sorenson
Daniel Spratlan
Elisa Sutherland
Daniel Taylor
Jason Weisinger
Shari Wilson
Scott Dettra, organ

Donald Nally, conductor
Kevin Vondrak, assistant conductor
John Grecia, keyboards
Paul Vazquez, sound designer
Jonathan Bradley, executive director
Shannon McMahon, operations manager
Stephanie Lantz-Goldstein, development manager
Katie Feeney, grants manager

The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artists Management.

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Notes and Texts

The Memory of Rain
music by Lansing McLoskey
words by Philip Levine (1928–2015)

Commissioned by The Crossing and Donald Nally, conductor, with funding from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project. Premiered at The Month of Moderns 2010, The Crossing’s annual summer festival of new music.

1.
Dawn. First light tearing
at the rough tongues of zinnias,
at the leaves of the just born.

Today it will rain. On the road
black cars are abandoned, but the clouds
ride above, their wisdom intact.

They are predictions. They never matter.
The jet fighters lift above the flat roofs,
black arrowheads trailing their future.
 
2.
When the night comes small fires go out.
Blood runs to the heart and finds it locked.

Morning is exhaustion, tranquilizers, gasoline,
the screaming of frozen bearings,
the failures of will, the TV talking to itself.

The clouds go on eating oil, cigars,
housewives, sighing letters,
the breath of lies. In their great silent pockets
they carry off all our dead.
 
3.
The clouds collect until there’s no sky.
A boat slips its moorings and drifts
toward the open sea, turning and turning.

The moon bends to the canal and bathes
her torn lips, and the earth goes on
giving off her angers and sighs

and who knows or cares except these
breathing the first rains,
the last rivers running over iron.
 
4.
You cut an apple in two pieces
and ate them both. In the rain
the door knocked and you dreamed it.
On bad roads the poor walked under cardboard boxes.

The houses are angry because they’re watched.
A soldier wants to talk with God
but his mouth fills with lost tags.

The clouds have seen it all, in the dark
they pass over the graves of the forgotten
and they don’t cry or whisper.

They should be punished every morning,
they should be bitten and boiled like spoons.
 
–Philip Levine, “Clouds,” from Ashes, 1979. Used with permission of the author.

Salve Regina
music by Arvo Pärt
words from the Marian antiphon for Compline

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
O, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, Poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And, after this, our exile,
Show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

In a House Besieged
music by Stacy Garrop
words by Lydia Davis

Commissioned by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Tom Welsh, director of performing arts, music, and film, with generous support of the Musart Society, in honor of Robert G. Schneider. Written for The Crossing, Donald Nally, and Scott Dettra.

In a House Besieged features several short stories by contemporary American writer Lydia Davis that reflect the fear and anxiety that accompany the aging process. We see our homes and the world around us crumble and decay with time; can we admit that our bodies and minds will do the same? If we are lucky enough to grow old, will we remember who we are? The piece presents five stories over the course of five movements, each highlighting various aspects of the aging process. Two additional fragments woven between these movements serve as a prologue, a series of interludes, and an epilogue. One fragment consists of the sounds someone makes while trying to recall how to pronounce the word “woman.” The other fragment, when fully heard at the end of the piece, illustrates the rising apprehension a person experiences with the onset and progression of dementia.

–S.G.

Prologue
(from “Suddenly Afraid”)
a wa wam
 
(from “The Busy Road”)
I am so used to it
 

“A Natural Disaster” (from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis)

In our home here by the rising sea we will not last much longer. The cold and the damp will certainly get us in the end, because it is no longer possible to leave: the cold has cracked open the only road away from here, the sea has risen and filled the cracks down by the marsh where it is low, has sunk and left salt crystals lining the crack, has risen again higher and made the road impassable.

The sea washes up through the pipes into our basins, and our drinking water is brackish. Mollusks have appeared in our front yard and our garden and we can’t walk without crushing their shells at every step. At every high tide the sea covers our land, leaving pools when it ebbs, among our rosebushes and in the furrows of our rye field. Our seeds have been washed away; the crows have eaten what few were left.

Now we have moved into the upper rooms of the house and stand at the window watching the fish flash through the branches of our peach tree. An eel looks out from below our wheelbarrow.
 

Interlude
(from “Suddenly Afraid”)
a wa wam owm
 
(from “The Busy Road”)
I am so used to it by now
 

“Almost No Memory” (from Almost No Memory)

A certain woman had a very sharp consciousness but almost no memory. She remembered enough to get by from day to day.

Sometimes she would only read and think, and sometimes she would make a note in her current notebook of what she was reading in a notebook from an earlier time, or she would make a note of an idea that came to her from what she was reading. (…)

Although most of what she read was new to her, sometimes she immediately recognized what she read and had no doubt that she herself had written it, and thought it. It seemed perfectly familiar to her, as though she had just thought it that very day, though in fact she had not thought it for some years, unless reading it again was the same as thinking it again, or the same as thinking it for the first time, and though she might never have thought it again, if she had not happened to read it in her notebook. And so she knew by this that these notebooks truly had a great deal to do with her.
 

Interlude
(from “Suddenly Afraid”)
a wa wam owm
Owamn womn
 
(from “The Busy Road”)
I am so used to it by now
That when the traffic falls silent,
 

“The Cottages” (from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis)

I look out from time to time and she is still sitting there alone, and she will not call them for fear of being a nuisance, and because she is disappointed she begins to think as she has thought before that she is too far away, she will not come back to this cottage again though she has come here for so many years, first with her husband, then without her husband, who died between one summer and the next, and she is thinking too how she makes trouble for everyone; well, no one minds! I have told her, but she will never believe that any more than she will uncover her old body to swim in company with the other old people here, and goes down to the lake alone at dawn; and now she puts away her book and her glasses and her shoes untied by the bed, and goes to bed, for it is evening, and she likes to lie and watch the darkness come down into the woods, though tonight, as sometimes before, she does not really watch, or though her eyes rest on the darkening woods, she is not so much watching as waiting, and often, now, feels she is waiting.
 

Interlude
(from “Suddenly Afraid”)
a wa wam owm
Owamn womn
 
(from “The Busy Road”)
I am so used to it by now
That when the traffic falls silent,
 

“Order” (from Varieties of Disturbance)

All day long the old woman struggles with her house and the objects in it; the doors will not shut; the floorboards separate and the clay squeezes up between them; the plaster walls dampen with rain; bats fly down from the attic and invade her wardrobe; mice make nests in her shoes; her fragile dresses fall into tatters from their own weight on the hanger; she finds dead insects everywhere. In desperation she exhausts herself sweeping, dusting, mending, caulking, gluing, and at night sinks into bed holding her hands over her ears so as not to hear the house continue to subside into ruin around her.
 

Interlude

“Suddenly Afraid” (from Varieties of Disturbance)

because she couldn’t write the name of what she was: a wa wam owm
Owamn womn
 

“In a House Besieged” (from Break it Down)

In a house besieged lived a man and woman. From where they cowered in the kitchen the man and woman heard small explosions. “The wind,” said the woman. “Hunters,” said the man. “The rain,” said the woman. “The army,” said the man. The woman wanted to go home but she was already home, there in the middle of the country in a house besieged.
 

Epilogue

“The Busy Road” (from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis)

I am so used to it by now
That when the traffic falls silent,
I think a storm is coming.
 

–Lydia Davis, from “Suddenly Afraid,” “The Busy Road,” “A Natural Disaster,” “Almost No Memory,” “The Cottages,” “Order,” and “In a House Besieged.” Used with permission.

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About the Artists

The Crossing is a Grammy-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 125 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, 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 released 25 albums, receiving two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and seven 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, Eric Southern, and Steven Bradshaw, and composers David Lang, Paul Fowler, and Michael Gordon on live and animated versions of new and existing works. Lang’s protect yourself from infection and in nature were specifically designed to be performed within the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which The Crossing premiered a number of newly-commissioned works for outdoors by Matana Roberts, Wang Lu, and Ayanna Woods.

www.crossingchoir.org
#ComeHearNow


Donald Nally conducts The Crossing, the internationally acclaimed, Grammy-award-winning professional choir that commissions, premieres, and records only new music. He holds the John W. Beattie chair of music at Northwestern University where he is professor and director of choral organizations. Nally has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and, for many seasons, at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Donald has commissioned over 140 works. He received the 2017 Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America; his ensembles have twice received the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Music. Donald has worked closely with the artists Allora & Calzadilla and composer David Lang on projects in London, Osaka, Cleveland, Edmonton, Cordoba, and Philadelphia. Recent highlights include his roles as visiting resident artist at the Park Avenue Armory, as music director for the world premiere of Lang’s the mile-long opera in which he directed 1,000 voices on the High Line in Manhattan, as chorus master for the New York Philharmonic for world premieres by Lang and Julia Wolfe, and as guest conductor for works he has commissioned with the Swedish Radio Choir.


Praised as a “brilliant organist” (Dallas Morning News) and an “outstanding musician” (The Diapason) and described as a “prodigy” by the New York Times at age 13, Scott Dettra is acclaimed as one of America’s leading concert organists. Mr. Dettra’s playing is praised for its clarity, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance and has been described by the American Organist as “music making of absolute authority and sophisticated expression.” He combines an active performance schedule with his post as director of music at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, where he leads a vibrant music ministry in one the country’s largest Episcopal parishes. In addition to his work at Incarnation, he is a member of the organ faculty at Southern Methodist University and is organist of The Crossing, the Grammy-winning professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia. Prior to his appointment in Dallas, he was organist of the Washington National Cathedral.

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These programs are made possible in part by the Ernest L. and Louise M. Gartner Fund, the P. J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund, and the Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund.

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