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Border CrosSing is a new organization founded in 2017 by a team of accomplished musicians and arts leaders. Our mission is to integrate historically-segregated audiences and musicians through the performance of choral music. We envision a landscape where singers and audiences more closely reflect the racial and cultural composition of the Twin Cities.
Artistic Director, Ahmed Fernando Anzaldúa El Samkary is a Mexican conductor and pianist of Egyptian descent. Early in his career, he was the awarded the first prize at the Maria Clara Cullel International Piano Competition. He’s since then avoided participating in competitions in favor of championing the works of new composers and exploring his musical heritage. Ahmed is a recognized authority in Latin American and Spanish music, particularly the compositions of Federico Mompou and Miguel Bernal Jiménez. He regularly collaborates with composers to premiere new works, including Helmut Lachenmann, Paul Lansky, and Arturo Marquez. His most recent recordings include Carteles, recorded for FMM, and Contemplating Weather, on Bridge Records. Ahmed holds Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Choral Conducting from Western Michigan University, where he taught before moving to Minnesota, and carried out postgraduate work at the Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid, Spain. He is currently in the doctoral program in Music Conducting at the University of Minnesota, under the mentorship of Kathy Romey. Apart from his work with Border CrosSing, he is co-editor of the Justice Choir songbook.
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About the Host
Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive, richly melodic” (The New York Times), “superb, whirling, soaring” (Tacoma News Tribune), and “the highlight” of the program (Boston Globe). With over 50 commissioned works for ensembles such as Cantus, the New England Philharmonic, and The Rose Ensemble, Abbie has been awarded a McKnight Composer Fellowship, grants from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and Jerome Foundation, and was recently listed in NPR Music’s Top 100 Composers Under 40. A resident of Saint Paul, she is adjunct professor of composition at Concordia University, and was composer-in-residence with the Schubert Club from 2005-2017.