'in nature' premiered by The Crossing and Roots in the Sky

[IMAGE] The Crossing

in nature
(mostly) Live World Premiere
August 1 :: 8pm EDT  
The Crossing
Roots in the Sky
Donald Nally, conductor

​Saturday, August 1 at 8pm EDT/6pm MDT,​ ​​The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center​ (WMPAC)​ and GRAMMY-winning choir ​The Crossing​, led by conductor ​Donald Nally​, co-presented the world premiere of ​David Lang’s ​in nature, performed​ ​in real-time with Montana-based choir ​Roots in the Sky​.

The work is specifically written as a hybrid of live and pre-filmed music observing the limitations presented by COVID-19. Twenty singers of The Crossing were recorded one-at-a-time at the ​Icebox Project Space at CraneArts​ and the recordings will be combined in real-time with the live performances of four socially-distanced singers of Roots in the Sky singing from ​WMPAC​ in Big Sky, Montana. As such, they reach over the 2100 miles span between them to make a work of art together.​ in nature ​reflects The Crossing’s commitment to their Montana summer home at WMPAC, led by its Executive Director, ​John Zirkle​. The text, by Lang, is a series of reflections and thoughts of being in nature and the work both celebrates and marks the absence of nature during the pandemic.

Lang writes:

My piece in nature began when my friend and frequent collaborator Donald Nally asked if I could imagine a piece that could be performed live, now, during this period when we are all separated from each other by the pandemic.

The question, of course, is how to make it possible for singers to sing together, when they can't be together, or breathe together, or interpret anything together.  Add to this how far apart the singers would be — a few would be in Montana and the rest scattered across the East Coast. 

My solution was to create different levels of coordination between groups of singers. Some are pre-recorded, responding to Donald's conducting prompts.  Some are essentially floating freely above the others. An extra wrinkle was Donald's idea to have the piece filmed on site, in nature, by a river in Montana, at sunrise. It seemed ironic to me because many of us at this moment are very far away from nature. The distance between being there and not being there underlies everything I have tried to do in this piece.

The Crossing recently released Lang's ​protect yourself from infection in a new film version, which gained national attention and was featured in the ​Los Angeles Times,​ ​The New York Times,​ ​The​ ​Washington Post, and NPR's ​Performance Today.