Westminster alumnus wins Grammy Award


Westminster alumnus Donald Nally '87 and The Crossing, the professional chamber choir he founded in 2007, have been honored by The Recording Academy with the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their recording Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century.

The Award has more Choir College connections.  Several Westminster alumni and a current student performed on the recording as members of The Crossing: alumni Tanisha Anderson '94, Kelly Ann Bixby '10, Ryan Fleming '93, Steven Hyder '12, Vincent Metallo '94, Rebecca Myers '02 and Jackson Williams '10 and student Katy Avery.  The recording is dedicated to the memory of Jeffrey Dinsmore '94, a Westminster alumnus and co-founder of The Crossing, who died in 2014.

“The nomination brings a lot of attention, which is welcome and serves our mission perfectly: creating new works that ask questions about our world and about singing, and recording those works with the composers in the room so that they reach many more ears internationally. The win multiplies that exponentially,” Nally says, reflecting on the Grammy win.  “We had over 1000 new visitors to our site on Grammy Award day alone.  So, in addition to being a lot of fun, it does serve a real purpose.  If it inspires more people to go down the Gavin Bryars or The Crossing "rabbit hole of listening" on the internet, and really get to know our work, then we're really grateful for the nod.”

“I haven't a clue how I'll ever answer all the people that have written to me and to us with their generous congratulations,” he adds.

Donald Nally earned a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College. He is responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning, and conducting at The Crossing.  He is also the director of choral organizations at Northwestern University where he holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music. He 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. He has also served as music director of Cincinnati's Vocal Arts Ensemble, chorus master at The Chicago Bach Project, and guest conductor throughout Europe and the United States, most notably with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, the Philharmonia Chorus (London), the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Latvian State Choir (Riga).

Based in Philadelphia, The Crossing is consistently recognized in critical reviews, Dedicated to new music, it regularly collaborates with some of the nation’s most accomplished ensembles and creative composers.  Nominated for the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, with Donald Nally, is the American Composers Forums’ 2017 Champion of New Music. They are 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. Donald Nally was awarded the 2017 Michael Korn Award and the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal for his work with The Crossing. 

Learn more about The Crossing and listen to samples of its work at