Release Date: June 28, 2019
Catalog #: NV6218
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music
Choir

Evolutionary Spirits

Edie Hill composer
Gregory W. Brown composer
James Shrader composer
Bruce Babcock composer
Jonathan Sheffer composer
Christopher J. Hoh composer

The Crossing | Donald Nally conductor, artistic director

EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS brings together the artistry of Grammy Award-winning chamber choir The Crossing with innovative works of six contemporary composers. Ranging from songs of praise from the Biblical era to present day, and from contemporary poetry to the reimagining of a Shakespearean sonnet, EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS explores humanity in all its facets.

Edie Hill’s Poem for 2084 unearths a reflection on the state of the world through the dynamic effects of soaring soprano lines over mystical harmonies below. Hill’s second composition on the album, Marvellous Error!, offers equally powerful and compelling performances. Gregory W. Brown sets Latin and English texts, shifting effortlessly between simple and complex textures, producing otherworldly-sounding performances in the contemplative Vida Aquam and the ethereal Five Women Bathing in Moonlight. James Shrader’s celestial-sounding Angels Sang with Mirth and Glee creates a gentle, inspiring listening experience.

Christopher J. Hoh brings both a reimagination of Shakespeare’s famous (and humorous) My Mistress’ Eyes and an homage to the groundbreaking composer Elliott Carter with To Elliott. Jonathan Sheffer draws on an ancient Hebrew prayer in his y’did nefesh, which offers a plea for union with the Divine. Bruce Babcock’s meditative Be Still reflects on Psalm 46:10, with shimmering textures throughout the five-minute meditation on just eight words.

EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS is a feat of choral and compositional strength.  Handled with grace by The Crossing, it offers reflections on the human condition, the relationship between humanity and the Divine, and our connections to the past, present, and future.

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Artist Information

The Crossing

Choir

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 140 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.

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Edie Hill

Composer

For Edie Hill, writing music is an opportunity to research, learn, muse, reach down deep, and allow inspiration to come from the stuff of life. Her compositions are fueled by her experiences, passions, and curiosities.

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Gregory W Brown

Gregory W. Brown

Composer

Composer Gregory W. Brown’s works have been performed across the United States and Europe — most notably in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Cadogan Hall in London, and the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.

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James Shrader

Composer

Dr. James Shrader is Professor of Music and former Head of the Department of Music at Valdosta State University. He has combined careers as composer, author, professor, administrator, conductor, stage director, and operatic tenor. He holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Fine Arts (Conducting) from Texas Tech University. Dr. Shrader received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, and the Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Opera Direction) and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Further studies have included the Cambridge Choral Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge, England.

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Bruce Babcock

Composer

Applauded by Aaron Copland, inspired by Desmond Tutu, and mentored by Hugo Friedhofer and Earle Hagen, Bruce Babcock has spent his working life composing music for the musicians of Los Angeles. Successful in film, television, and the concert hall, he is known for vibrant, sonorous, and expressive pieces that immerse audience members and performers alike in an inclusive and exuberant celebration of the musical art.

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Jonathan Sheffer

Composer

Composer and conductor Jonathan Sheffer has had diverse career in music, spanning the worlds of classical, opera, dance, and film and television. Born in New York City, Mr. Sheffer graduated from Harvard University, where his teachers included Leonard Bernstein, and later attended The Julliard Extension School and the Aspen School of Music.

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Christopher J. Hoh

Composer

“Full of charm and shapely allure” (Opera News) and “a tapestry of immense grace” (Textura) are some of the praises for the music of Christopher J. Hoh. He composes for voices and instruments, separately and combined, in a modern classical vein. In the mid-Atlantic region, his work has enhanced many worship services and choral concerts, but audiences across the United States and in several countries of Europe and the Americas have also heard his compositions. The GRAMMY-winning ensemble The Crossing, as well as Vox Futura and others, have recorded his work on six albums so far, with more in the pipeline.

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Donald Nally

Donald Nally

Conductor

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. Nally has commissioned over 160 works.

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