After a superb premiere at The Krannert Center in Urbana-Champaign, IL, the staging of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer by director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company with the Bang on a Can All-Stars goes on tour beginning October 23, with a final performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December!
staged by Anne Bogart with SITI Company;
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Then On November 14, Julia Wolfe returns to the anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania, which inspired her Pulitzer prize-winning oratorio, Anthracite Fields. In order to share the piece with the community that gave her such invaluable assistance in her research, Wolfe will participate in tours of the Lackawanna Coal Mine and give a talk at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton. That evening, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Julian Wachner, will perform Anthracite Fields at the brand-new Allan P. and Marian Sutherland Kirby Center for Creative Arts at the historic Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA. The piece is illuminated by the visual projections of scenic designer Jeff Sugg.
Proceeds from the concert are to benefit the Anthracite Heritage Museum.
Anthracite Fields includes both the dark echoes of the underground caves and the moments of light in the lives of the miners who persevered and endured. The text draws on oral histories, speeches, geographic descriptions, local rhymes, and a coal advertisement. Wolfe also conducted personal interviews, including with a third-generation miner and the daughter and granddaughter of miners, and journeyed into both an active and a closed mine.
The recording of Anthracite Fields was released last month on Cantaloupe Music, providing music lovers with the first opportunity to experience the piece since it won the Pulitzer Prize for Music last spring. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times said of the premiere at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL that it, “captures not only the sadness of hard lives lost…but also of the sweetness and passion of a way of daily life now also lost. The music compels without overstatement. This is a major, profound work.”
Julia Wolfe discusses Anthracite Fields on NPRs All Things Considered
True Love (accordion concerto)
On October 29, Intersection Contemporary Music presents only the second performance of Wolfe’s accordion concerto, True Love, with accordionist Jeff Lisenby. Wolfe writes:
Most of my music is about the energy of a group sound — how the interlocking of individuals creates a powerful human expression. Concertos in my mind have meant ”flashy”. I began to think about what could make the experience of the concerto special — how an individual voice could ride the wave of a large ensemble. I thought of the accordion. The accordion is friendly. Who has ever been intimidated by an accordion? It is a unique beast. It has ”lived” in such great contexts.
The accordion’s life has been primarily with the people — on the streets, in the wedding hall, and so forth. But one thing is for sure: the accordion is about love.
— Julia Wolfe