Bienen Contemporary Early Vocal Ensemble

The Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble is the premiere choir in a broad and diverse choral program at Northwestern University comprised of 120  graduate and undergraduate singers and focused on contemporary music.  The 24-voice ensemble has given the world premiere David Shapiro’s When I have seen; the American premiere of works of Toivo Tulev, David Lang, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and Wolfgang Rihm; and the Midwest premiere of works of Gabriel Jackson, Santa Ratniece, Kile Smith, and Ēriks Ešenvalds. Exploring the compositional voices of today, from Kaija Saariaho to Ted Hearne, their work also draws connections between postmodernism and early music through historically informed performances of masterpieces from composers like Antoine Brumel. Claude Le Jeune, and Dietrich Buxtehude.  The ensemble is conducted by Donald Nally. 

Donald Nally conducts the new-music ensemble The Crossing in Philadelphia. He is the John W. Beattie Chair of Music and Director of Choral Organizations at Northwestern University and is chorus master of the Chicago Bach Project. He has held tenures as chorus master for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and Opera Philadelphia, and also served as music director for Cincinnati's Vocal Arts Ensemble. The Crossing has commissioned over 50 works and has sung at Disney Hall with the LA Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Crossing has appeared twice at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Donald's ensembles have received Chorus America's Margaret Hillis Award twice: The Crossing in 2015 and The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia in 2002.