Three Bienen School of Music alumni and one faculty member are among this year’s Grammy Award nominees.

Donald Nally, director of choral organizations at the Bienen School of Music, has been nominated for a Grammy Award with his Philadelphia-based chamber choir The Crossing for the third consecutive year. The Crossing’s latest album Lansing McLoskey: Zealot Canticles, released September 28, 2018 on Innova Recordings, is nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.

Based on Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s Twelve Canticles for the Zealot, Lansing McLoskey’s Zealot Canticles is a concert-length choral oratorio for clarinet, string quartet, and 24-voice choir. The performance features clarinetist Doris Hall-Galuti and a string quartet comprised of violinists Rebecca Harris and Mandy Wolman, violist Lorenzo Raval, and cellist Arlen Hlusko.

In a statement released by The Crossing, Nally said: "It is a humbling honor to be recognized by our colleagues three years in a row, and a testament to the commitment of the artists of The Crossing and the composers we work with to create new music. This nomination is particularly special as the work addresses issues about fanaticism and radicalism that our very much our concern and a part of our national discourse. We're grateful."

Nally and The Crossing previously won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for The Fifth Century in 2018. The chorus received a Grammy nomination in the same category in 2017 for Thomas Lloyd's Bonhoeffer.

Also nominated for a Grammy this year is Spektral Quartet, which includes Northwestern alumni violist Doyle Armbrust (00) and cellist Russell Rolen (G11), with violinists Clara Lyon and Maeve Feinberg. The quartet received a nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Yo Soy La Tradición, featuring Miguel Zenón and released September 21, 2018 on Miel Music.

Yo Soy la Tradición is an immersive, concert-length work inspired by the musical heritage of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellow Miguel Zenón’s native Puerto Rico. Premiered in September 2016 at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival to critical acclaim, the work is an eight-movement suite that pairs lush, melodic string writing with complex rhythmic interactions, blurring the lines between jazz, classical, and folk music.

Spektral Quartet was previously nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Serious Business.

Alumna Katrina Lenk was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album as a principal vocalist in The Band’s Visit. She previously won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for the production, which also won the Tony Award for best new musical.

The Band’s Visit was adapted from the 2007 film by Itamar Moses, with music composed by David Yazbek and stage direction by David Cromer. The production tells the story of an Egyptian band stuck overnight in a small Israeli desert town, and despite language barriers, both strangers and hosts find deep connection through music. Lenk originated the role of sultry cafe owner Dina.

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will take place February 10, 2019.


  • Donald Nally
  • Katrina Lenk
  • Spektral Quartet