photography Kevin Vondrak

the crossing

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 over seventy commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.


Highly sought-after for collaborative projects, The Crossing’s first such partnership was as the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival in Italy, in 2007. Since then, collaborators include the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Beth Morrison Projects, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Mostly Mozart Festival, National Gallery of Art, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum, Institute for Advanced Study, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, and Northwestern University. 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 issued 15 releases, receiving two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and three Grammy nominations in as many years. The Crossing, with Donald Nally, is the American Composers Forum’s 2017 Champion of New Music. They are 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.


The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artist Management.


"Such is their radiant sound and the vibrancy of the repertory they’ve cultivated, it’s gotten to the point I’d hear anything this Philadelphia vocal ensemble sings." — New York Times (January, 2019)


“[A] gift for lending social activism poetic form” — New York Times (September, 2018)


“Against all odds, a choir focused on new music prospers” – Chicago Tribune (March, 2018)


“…unerring performers, the superb Philadelphia choir The Crossing, directed by Donald Nally”  – New Yorker (September, 2017)


 “ardently angelic” – Los Angeles Times (April, 2014)


“something of a miracle” – Philadelphia Inquirer (July, 2014)


Edie Hill

Described as “flat out beautiful” and “full of mystery,” (Stereophile Magazine), Edie Hill’s music is performed all over the globe. Venues have included Lincoln Center, Musis Sacrum in Arnhem Holland, LA County Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Minneapolis’ Walker Arts Center, St. Paul’s Schubert Club, The Cape May Festival (NJ), The Downtown Arts Festival (NYC), Liviu Cultural Center (Romania), Feszek Müvészklub (Budapest), and concert halls in Bangkok (Thailand), Dublin (Ireland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Moscow (Russia), Brazil, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Baltic States, and The United Arab Emirates.


Hill has been commissioned to compose for arrangements from solo voice to choir, solo instrumental to orchestral and mass band, and miniature to full evening drama. She loves the challenge of exploring all combinations, including electroacoustic and mixed media.


Mentorship is integral to Hill’s life as a composer. She has served as Composer in Residence at St. Paul’s Schubert Club from 2005-2017 where she ran and grew the Mentorship Program for gifted high school composers. Hill has also been Composer Mentor for MN Varsity, a program for composers 14-18 years of age co-sponsored by The American Composers Forum and Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She has lectured at colleges, universities, and various institutions in the United States and abroad.


A three-time McKnight Artist Fellow and a two-time Bush Artist Fellow, Hill has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, ASCAP, New Music USA, Meet The Composer, and Chamber Music America. After earning a B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont under the tutelage of Vivian Fine, Hill moved from her native New York to Minneapolis where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota with principal composition teacher, Lloyd Ultan. She has also studied extensively with Libby Larsen.


Composing is a life-long love of Hill’s. Writing music has always been an opportunity to research, learn, muse, reach down deep, and allow inspiration to come from the stuff of life. She lives in Minneapolis MN where she freelances and runs Hummingbird Press, through which all of her works are available for perusal and sale. photo: Leslie Crane Photography


Gregory W. Brown

Composer Gregory W. Brown’s works have been performed across the United States and Europe — most notably in Weill Recital 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.


MISSA CHARLES DARWIN was recently reissued in a special edition to coincide with the publication of his brother’s new novel — Origin — in which it makes an appearance.


Brown’s 2015 CD of original choral and vocal works — MOONSTRUNG AIR— was Q2’s Album of the Week for Feb 16th, noting that “[Brown’s] command of transcendent sound is constant…the pieces ring like higher-power-bells, those of science, faith and the human voice.”


Brown’s latest major work — un/bodying/s — was premiered by Philadelphia choir The Crossing in June 2017. This 35-minute cantata for 24 voices uses new texts by poet Todd Hearon and focuses on issues of displacement and ecology around the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir. Gramophone's review of un/bodying/s noted that it was "lively and affecting, full of exhilarating lines amid pungent details."


photo: B.A.B.


James Shrader

Dr. James Shrader is a retired Professor of Music and Head of the Department of Music as well as a Faculty Associate in The Honors College at Valdosta State University in Valdosta GA.


Shrader combined careers as a composer, author, university professor and administrator, conductor, stage director, and operatic tenor. In 1995, Shrader joined the music faculty at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva OK. A tenured Professor of Music, he served as Chairman of the Department of Music and Director of Choral and Opera Studies. He taught conducting, music history, and music education courses in addition to choral ensembles and opera theater. Under Shrader's direction, Northwestern's University Chorale completed critically acclaimed tours to Santa Fe NM, Washington D.C., St. Louis MO, and Phoenix, AZ.


From 1990-1994, Shrader served on the faculty at Texas Tech University, Lubbock TX, where he was a member of the voice faculty as well as Associate Director of Choral Activities. In 1994, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education and Associate Director of Choral Activities at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Fine Arts (Conducting) from Texas Tech where his dissertation was entitled The Choruses in Mozart's Opere Serie: Practical Performance Possibilities. Shrader received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bradley University, Peoria IL, and the Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Opera Direction) and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Further studies have included the Cambridge Choral Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge, England. For 13 years, Shrader was Director of Music and Fine Arts at the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland (ABCUSA). He is past president of the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians and past-president of the Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Association.


As an operatic tenor, he appeared in over 30 leading roles under the batons of maestros such as Sixten Ehrling, Franz Allers, Robert Page, and Victor Borge. As a stage director, he was formerly Director of Opera Programs at the University of Akron, Ohio, and the founder and artistic director of The Happy Ending Lyric Players, an award-winning community theater ensemble in Cleveland OH.


Shrader was the General Director and tour leader of the Oklahoma Ambassadors of Music and, from 1999 - 2005, he led that group on very successful European tours. In 2014 he was the Choral Coordinator for the Georgia Ambassadors of Music. He is the former chorus master for Tulsa Opera where he prepared eight productions for live performances and rebroadcasts on National Public Radio stations. In addition to concerts and services associated with his church and university positions, he has conducted performances in Great Britain at Canterbury and Ely Cathedrals; Dunfermline Abbey, Scotland; Holy Innocents Church, Manchester; and in London at St. Martin's in the Field, Wesley Chapel, All Souls Church, and Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church; as well as concerts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice Italy.


Shrader is the author of The Choruses in Mozart’s Opere Serie: The Genre and Historical Role of the Opera Chorus, published in 2012 by The Edwin Mellen Press. He has also published several choral compositions with Colla Voce, Inc. His music can be heard on the 2016 CD DASHING released on the Navona label from PARMA Recordings.

He is a member of ASCAP and the American Society of Composers.


In retirement, Shrader continues to compose while pursuing a new career as a Realtor and an active FAA licensed drone pilot.


Bruce Babcock

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, expressive pieces that immerse audiences and performers alike in an inclusive and exuberant celebration of the musical art.


Babcock holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in music composition from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). While at CSUN, Bruce’s Impasse was performed for Aaron Copland during his 1975 residency. Copland’s comments on the piece, recorded for posterity, include “an impression of musicality which is very pleasant, indeed...a convincing sense of an overall mood...knows what he wants...sure of what he’s doing.” Bruce won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series in 1992, one of eight total Emmy nominations in a ten-year period, as well as eight TV/Film awards from BMI.


Babcock was described by Donald Rosenberg in Gramophone, in a review of his debut Navona album "Time Still," as "a musician who blends superior craftsmanship with a colourful, expressive sense of narrative."


Babcock's chamber music has been performed by Pacific Serenades, the Debussy Trio, the Rainier and Armadillo string quartets, Boston Metro Opera, and the San Francisco Chamber Players. His music has been performed at the Santa Barbara Chamber Music Festival (at which he was composer-in-residence), and the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, and by ensembles at USC, UCLA, Pomona College, and Eastman.


His vocal music has been performed by Hila Plitmann, Juliana Gondek, Ursula Kleinecke, Iris Malkin, and Lindsay Conrad. His choral music has been sung by the Antioch Ensemble, the Donald Brinegar singers, the Haga Motettkör of Göteborg Sweden, and the choirs of All Saints Church in Pasadena.


All Unto Me, inspired by and dedicated to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was performed with the Archbishop in attendance in 2011.


Event Horizon, an orchestral piece with video compiled from images of the NASA-Hubble Space Telescope, was premiered by Aaron Collins and the Space Coast Symphony in 2017. It was recorded by the Wembley Players in London, with the composer conducting, and was released on the Navona album SPARKS in 2016.


In 2018 Babcock was asked by the Mount Wilson Institute to compose a string quartet in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the birth of astro-physicist George Ellery Hale. The premiere took place inside the dome of the 100-inch telescope that Hale completed in 1917 at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena CA.


photo: Cam Sanders


Jonathan Sheffer

Composer and conductor Jonathan Sheffer has had a diverse career in music, spanning the worlds of classical, opera, dance, and film and television.


He has composed three musicals: Ladies in Waiting with 9 to 5 author Patricia Resnick, which was produced in Chicago; Going Hollywood, with lyricist David Zippel, and A Newer World, in development as of 2018.


In addition to several scores for Hollywood films, including Encino Man, Pure Luck, and others, his recent scores include the German/Israeli film The Decent One, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and After Louie, currently playing at international festivals. He has also served as conductor for many films, including Alien 3, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Batman Returns, Interview With The Vampire, Across The Universe, Titus, and many more.


His opera, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, produced off-Broadway in 2000 and revived several times since, received the Richard Rodgers Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was the focus of a Guggenheim Works & Process series event. His most recent orchestral commission was a work for children, The Conference of the Birds, which had its premiere in 2014 at the Cabrillo Festival, conducted by Marin Alsop.


In 1995 he founded the Eos Orchestra in New York, which received an ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award as a laboratory of new programming ideas. Eos toured nationally, performed at the White House, and was the focus of a PBS Special and the recipient of a Grammy nomination.

In addition to Eos, Sheffer has conducted orchestras, opera, dance, and at various festivals, including the New York City Opera, The Spoleto Festival (Italy), and the Ravinia Festival. Sheffer has conducted the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera, the Mark Morris Dance Company at BAM, and in 1996, he led the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Edinburgh Festival.


Born in New York City, Sheffer graduated from Harvard University, where his teachers included Leonard Bernstein, and later attended The Juilliard School and Aspen School of Music. He has had fellowships at both Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony, and in 2003 he was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.


photo: David Seidner

Christopher J. Hoh

Christopher J. Hoh grew up in Pennsylvania and lives near Washington, DC. He has participated in workshops with Jean Berger, Daniel Moe, Robert Page, and Mack Wilberg, and studied composition with Alice Parker. Most of his work is choral, ranging from a cappella compositions for advanced choruses to simple accompanied pieces for church choirs. It also includes chamber music and vocal solos.


Recent highlights include premieres by Pacific Edge Voices (San Francisco) of “Come, Love We God” for SATB, by an Alexandria VA middle school of folksong settings for chorus & piano, and by choirs in the capital region of sacred anthems. The U.S. State Department chorus premiered his holiday opener “Come Now and Celebrate,” heard on the Navona album DASHING. Navona also recorded his choral set Remembering All on its album CADENCE  for the Carl Sandburg semi-centennial in 2017. The Stuttgart German-American chorus commissioned his extended setting of the “O Antiphons” for choir & organ, while his cycle “I Breathed A Song” for mezzo-soprano, baritone sax, and piano premiered at Vienna’s Musikverein.


Hoh’s work has been heard in concert, worship, festivals, and workshops in over 20 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries. Previous commissions include "My Mistress' Eyes" for SATB and “Ein Kind Geborn In Bethlehem” for SSATBB with the California's Meistersingers. Austria’s Carnuntum Archaeological Park commissioned “Ecumenical Meditation” for the 1700th Anniversary of the Edict of Nicomedia, premiering in Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and reprised in Serbia and Austria.


The College of William & Mary choir reprised on tour his six-part “Angele Dei,” while Shepherd University asked him to rearrange “Dona Nobis Pacem” for six-part male chorus. Austria’s Salto Vocale premiered the remaining of these “Three Latin Prayers,” “Agimus Tibi Gratias.” The Montana-based ensemble Musikanten, for whom he was composer-in-residence in 2008, regularly performs his work on tour, including Berlin & Gdansk in 2016.


In addition to recordings with PARMA Recordings’ Navona label, his compositions are found on ERM Media’s “Made in the Americas, Vol. 1” CD and Phoenix Classical’s “Undiscovered Choral Gems.” Hoh graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in international affairs. He served in the U.S. Foreign Service and Department of State for 34 years. Scores, audio, and information about Hoh’s compositions and editions of early music may be found on his website, as well as J.W. Pepper’s MyScore and Art of Sound Music.


photo: J. LaRusso

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