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July 12: Grammy-Winning Choir The Crossing Releases Kile Smith's THE ARC IN THE SKY on Navona Records

June 5, 2019 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media

Contact: Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts and Media | 863.660.2214


Grammy-Winning Choir, The Crossing, Releases
THE ARC IN THE SKY by Kile Smith

Smith’s 2018 Epic Work for Unaccompanied
Choir Based on the Writings of Robert Lax

Released Friday, July 12, 2019 on Navona Records
Physical Copies Available Upon Request

“ecstatically beautiful” – The Philadelphia Inquirer


PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 5, 2019) — Grammy-winning new-music choir, The Crossingreleases its latest album, THE ARC IN THE SKYon Friday, July 12, 2019, on Navona Records. Kile Smith’s 2018 setting of journal entries and poems by Robert Lax (1915–2000), THE ARC IN THE SKY is an epic, hour-long tour de force of thought and feeling that traverses topics ranging from Louis Armstrong to Jack Kerouac, and from Jerusalem to the shores of the island of Patmos. THE ARC IN THE SKY marks Smith’s sixth commission from The Crossing, which has also recorded his Where Flames a Word and Vespers. The album’s release follows The Crossing’s June 28 performance of THE ARC IN THE SKY at Chorus America’s annual national conference in Philadelphia.

Premiered at The Month of Moderns 2018, The Crossing’s annual festival of new music for choir, Smith’s composition for unaccompanied choir is comprised of three major sections, beginning with the ecstasy of "Jazz," for Robert Lax, a metaphor for life born of his early days in New York City; the extraordinary conclusion to the third movement “Cherubim & Palm Trees” is like a revival meeting. The middle section, "Praise," celebrates the spirituality found in both the simple and expansive; the panoramic temple and the little things. "Arc" ends the work by hearkening back to the emotion of the opening, a culmination of Lax’s personal and poetic voyage.

Commenting on their collaboration, Kile Smith says, “I am indebted to The Crossing and to Donald Nally. As always, their faith in me by asking for another work opens my heart in gratitude. I am humbled by their trust, and astonished by the magnitude of their talent and artistry.”

About Kile Smith 
Composer Kile Smith has gained national and international acclaim, with commissions from Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Piffaro, Helena Symphony, Lyric Fest, The Crossing, Westminster Choir College, Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Gaudete Brass, The Arcadian Trio, Red Shift, Khorikos, and Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, whose recording of their commission Canticle was released in 2018. His music has also been performed by, among many others, Conspirare, Seraphic Fire, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, Orchestra 2001, Network for New Music, and Gaudete Brass.

Smith’s music has been called “eerily beautiful” by Boston Classical Review, “like no other music” by the Miami Herald, and “ecstatically beautiful” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has been composer in residence for Lyric Fest, Helena Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, and Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Smith has received grants from the Philadelphia Music Project, Meet The Composer, Argosy Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Independence Foundation, which is supporting the composition of his first opera, The Book of Job. Kile is a regular contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review; he has hosted Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection since 2002.

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

Highly sought-after for collaborative projects, The Crossing first collaborated with the Spoleto Festival, Italy, as its resident choir in 2007. The Crossing has appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University with the International Contemporary Ensemble, with whom they have appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. They joined Bang on a Can for its first Philadelphia Marathon, and have sung with the LA Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, Beth Morrison Projects, Dolce Suono, Allora & Calzadilla, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and The Rolling Stones. Venues include National Sawdust, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Cleveland Museum of Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, The Kennedy Center in Washington, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Northwestern University, Colgate University, and the Winter Garden in New York with WNYC. In 2014, they premiered John Luther Adams’ Sila: the breath of the world at Lincoln Center. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana, where they are working on an extensive, multi-year project with composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Their concerts are broadcast regularly on WRTI, 90.1 FM, Philadelphia’s Classical and Jazz Public Radio. In the 2018-19 season, they made their debut with the New York Philharmonic, Park Avenue Armory, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University.

The Crossing has presented over seventy commissioned world premieres. Major new works have included Michael Gordon’s Anonymous Man (2017), Michael Gilbertson’s Born (2017), Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Ad genua (2016), Lansing McLoskey’s Zealot Canticles (2017), Caroline Shaw’s To the Hands (2016), John Luther Adams’ Canticles of the Holy Wind (2013, co-commissioned with Kamer), Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century (2014, written for The Crossing and PRISM), Stratis Minakakis’ Crossings Cycle (2015/2017), Gregory Brown’s un/bodying/s (2017), David Lang’s statement to the court (2010), Lewis Spratlan’s Hesperus is Phosphorus (2012, co-commissioned with Network for New Music), Ted Hearne’s Sound From the Bench (2014, co-commissioned with Volti) and, from Kile Smith, The Arc in the Sky (2018), The Consolation of Apollo (2014), The Waking Sun (2011), and Vespers (2008, a commission of Piffaro). In 2016, The Crossing presented Seven Responses with new works including those of David T. Little, Hans Thomalla, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and Santa Ratniece. That same year, The Crossing commissioned and presented Jeff Quartets, a rare compilation of quartets from fifteen of the world’s leading composers, presented as a concert-length set and collected in an omnibus edition. In June 2019, The Crossing will present its largest project to date –- Aniara: fragments of time and space, a collaboration with Klockriketeatern in Helsinki, and composer Robert Maggio. Future projects include composers Toivo Tulev, Edie Hill, Daniel Felsenfeld, Tawnie Olson, James Primosch, Stacy Garrop, Jacob Cooper, and Aaron Helgeson.

With a commitment to recording their commissions, The Crossing has fifteen commercially-released recordings, two Grammy Awards, and three nominations. Their collaboration with PRISM, Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century (ECM, October 2016), was the winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance and named one of The Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Classical CDs of the 2016. Lansing McLoskey's Zealot Canticles won the 2019 Grammy and Thomas Lloyd’s Bonhoeffer (Albany 2016) was nominated for the 2017 Grammy, both as Best Choral Performance.

The Crossing, with Donald Nally, was the American Composers Forums’ 2017 Champion of New Music. The Crossing’s 2014 commission Sound from The Bench by Ted Hearne was named a 2018 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. They were the recipient of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award (with composer Joel Puckett) from Chorus America.


Kile Smith – The Arc in the Sky (2018)

I. Jazz
     1. why did they all shout (3:53)
     2. there are not many songs (5:27)
     3. Cherubim & Palm-Trees (9:47)

II. Praise
     4. I want to write a book of praise (4:45)
     5. The light of the afternoon is on the houses (5:54)
     6. Psalm (7:15)

III. Arc
     7. Jerusalem (6:53)
     8. I would stand and watch them (9:55)
     9. The Arc (12:02)

The Crossing
Donald Nally, 
John Grecia, keyboards

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