by Michael Caruso
Although the regular 2016-17 concert season has come to a conclusion, and most summer season concerts haven’t begun, local lovers of contemporary choral music have a special festival to look forward to. Donald Nally and The Crossing are set to present their 8th annual “Month of Moderns” later this month. Performances are schedule for Jun 11 & 24 and July 1, with the second and third taking place in Chestnut Hill.
While it’s easy to think of The Crossing as one of several “local” choirs that help make Philadelphia’s classical music scene one of the most competitive and acclaimed in America, Nally and The Crossing’s reputation has spread nationwide. Nally has been named the 2017 winner of the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art.
The award is named after Michael Korn, who founded the Philadelphia Singers in 1971 and led the city’s first professional choir until his death in August of 1991. His final performance with the Singers and the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia came earlier that year in the Academy of Music. He conducted Mozart’s “Messa da Requiem” and introduced the Philadelphia Singers Chorale, the 130-member expansion of the Singers.
Korn also founded the Bach Festival of Philadelphia in 1976, joining forces with the Concerto Soloists’ founder, Marc Mostovoy, to present historically informed performances of the choral and instrumental repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Festival’s concerts took place in Chestnut Hill, principally at either St. Paul’s or St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Churches.
Donald Nally and The Crossing have also been named the winner of the 2017 Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. The award will be presented during Chorus America’s annual conference June 21-24 in Los Angeles.
“Month of Moderns 2017” gets underway Sunday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at The Icebox at Crane Arts in the Northern Liberties section of the city. The program includes a performance of Joshua Stamper’s “’mid the steep sky’s commotion.”
Nally and The Crossing return to their home base at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill for the second and third concerts of the festival. New works by Gregory W. Brown, Stratis Minakakis and Dai Fugikura will be performed Saturday, June 24, at 8 p.m. The world premiere of Michael Gordon’s “Anonymous Man” will be given Saturday, July 1, also at 8 p.m.
For ticket information visit www.crossingchoir.com.
The Germantown Branch of Settlement Music School, 6128 Germantown Ave., will host an Open House Saturday, June 3. Performances by student ensembles begin at 10 a.m. and continue through 1 p.m.
Branch director Eric Anderson of Glenside explained that individual students will perform from 10 to 11 a.m., the children’s choir will sing from 11 to 11:30 a.m., Anne Parrett will conduct the branch’s string orchestras from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and the student rock band will play from noon until 12:45 p.m. Demonstration classes for dance, music workshop and music play shop will take place from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and various individual lessons will be available for observation.
The century-old Mary Louise Curtis Branch, located at 416 Queen St. in the Queen Village section of Center City, will also host an Open House Saturday, June 3, beginning at 10 a.m. The downtown branch offers lessons and classes not offered anywhere else in Settlement’s six-branch system. Branch director Kris Rudzinski of Plymouth Meeting explained that performances in Presser Hall include piano and violin recitals, a Suzuki piano play-in, a ballet performance and an African drumming ensemble concert. Numerous teaching studios will be open, and the Adult Jazz Band and Community Drum Circle will perform in the Lower Lobby.
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