DMA, University of Illinois

Donald Nally is the director of choral organizations at Northwestern University where he holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music. He is also responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning, and conducting at The Crossing. Donald 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).

Donald, with The Crossing, was the American Composers Forum 2017 Champion of New Music; he received the 2017 Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America. He is the only conductor to have two ensembles receive the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Music: in 2002 with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and in 2015 with The Crossing. Collaborations have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, the Barnes Foundation, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the American Composers Orchestra, and The Big Sky Conservatory in Montana where The Crossing holds an annual residency. 

In addition to his work with The Crossing, Donald has recently been visiting resident artist at the Park Avenue Armory, music director of David Lang's 1000-voice Mile Long Opera on the High Line in Manhattan, and chorus master for the New York Philharmonic for world premieres of Julia Wolfe and David Lang. He has worked closely with Lang and Allora & Calzadilla on projects in Osaka, London, Edmonton, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.


Grammy nominations honor faculty and alumni

November 22, 2019

Bienen Institute for New Music welcomes David T. Little and Judd Greenstein

April 3, 2019

2019 Grammy Award winners include Bienen School faculty, alumna

February 11, 2019

Q&A: Donald Nally talks third consecutive Grammy nomination

February 6, 2019

Nally premieres ‘Fire in my mouth,’ with NY Philharmonic

January 23, 2019

Angelic Voices For Troubled Times

January 17, 2019

2019 Grammy Nominees include Bienen School faculty, alumni

December 10, 2018

Bienen School hosts third biennial new music conference April 20-22

April 3, 2018

Against all odds, a choir focused on new music prospers

March 6, 2018

Bienen School faculty, alumnus win Grammy Awards

January 29, 2018

See All News


Bienen Contemporary/ Early Vocal Ensemble


University Chorale



The Waking Sun

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and University Chorale

David T. Little - Am I Born

University Chorale and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

The Crossing and BCE

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble

Nicholas Cline - Watersheds

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble with soloists