Bienen professor, Bienen alum receive awards at 60th Grammy Awards


Source: Becky Oehlers Photography

Bienen Prof. Donald Nally. Nally won his first Grammy on Sunday in the best choral performance category.

Madeleine Fernando, Digital Managing Editor

Bienen Prof. Donald Nally, Northwestern’s director of choral organizations, received his first Grammy win Sunday for his choir’s performance of Gavin Bryars’ “The Fifth Century,” a collaboration between his chamber choir The Crossing and chamber ensemble PRISM Quartet.

Nally won over four other choral groups in the best choral performance category. This is his second Grammy nomination in two years. Last year, Nally was nominated in the same category for The Crossing’s performance of Thomas Lloyd’s “Bonhoeffer,” but lost to Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1.”

“The Fifth Century,” commissioned by Nally in 2013 and composed by Bryars, is a series of movements based on theologian Thomas Traherne’s writings about eternity, Nally said.

Though he didn’t attend the ceremony, Nally told The Daily he was “thrilled” by the result and spent the next hour calling and emailing people involved in “The Fifth Century” who played a role in its formation. Most importantly, Nally said, he is grateful that the award will raise more awareness for The Crossing and its musical pursuits.

“It doesn’t affect (The Crossing’s) mission at all, it just probably affects our ability to put that mission into play because it does attract attention and puts you on an even bigger national stage,” Nally said. “The excitement for me is having a greater reach for pieces that I really believe in.”

In addition to Nally, Nashville Symphony Orchestra music director Giancarlo Guerrero (Bienen ’92) also received a Grammy for his direction of Jennifer Higdon’s “All Things Majestic.” Guerrero won for best classical compendium.

Both awards were announced Sunday afternoon before the televised 60th Grammy Awards ceremony, hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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