The 2018 Carnegie Hall performance of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthracite Fields was one of the season’s most unforgettable events. Inspired by the lives of Pennsylvania coal miners, Wolfe uses oral histories, interviews with miners and their families, speeches, and children’s stories in moving musical tableaux that depicts their plight. Hear this “major profound work” (Los Angeles Times) for the first time or be moved by it once again.
Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer is a moving retelling of “John Henry,” a classic American ballad of man versus machine. Based on hearsay, recollection, and tall tales, the piece features exquisite vocal writing complemented by Appalachian folk instruments, such as wooden bones, mountain dulcimer, banjo, clapping, and clogging.
Cal Performances at Home premieres a new film, Steel Hammer, based on the acclaimed oratorio by Julia Wolfe. Steel Hammer is a meditation on over 200 versions of the “John Henry” folk ballad. The various versions—based on hearsay, recollection, and tall tales—reveal both the evolution of the story, as well as the timeless tale of human versus machine.
The video premiere is May 6 at 7pm PT/ 10pm ET. It will be available on demand through August 4.
[More info coming soon about how this program will be adapted due to the pandemic.]
Bang on a Can fellows and faculty and guest luminaries of experimental music converge to create an eclectic supermix of over 30 concerts in 3 days, taking over every space in and around MASS MoCA. In the words of the reviewer for the Boston Globe “nothing could have prepared me for the whirlwind…”
Friday, July 31, 8:30pm
Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint performed by Taylor Levine
Todd Reynolds: Outerborough performed by Todd Reynolds
Gregg August: Trio for Violin, Piano and Bass (with acknowledgements to Yambú, Guaguanco and Abakua) performed by Gregg August, Vicky Chow, Todd Reynolds
Philip Glass: Piano Etudes (selections), performed by Vicky Chow
Zoë Keating: solo set
Saturday, August 1, 8:30pm
Robert Black: Possessed solo improvisation
Julia Wolfe: Compassion performed by Vicky Chow
Michael Gordon: Light Is Calling performed by Arlen Hlusko
Don Byron: solo set
Louis Andriessen: Workers Union performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars
Thurston Moore: Stroking Piece #1 performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars
Two evenings of innovative, unexpected, ear-expanding and LIVE music, Bang on a Can & Friends’ eclectic program features the Bang on a Can All-Stars with special guests Don Byron, Zoë Keating, Gregg August, Todd Reynolds and music by Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Thurston Moore, Steve Reich, and Julia Wolfe. It’s our first live music event since March — back to back nights of a fully loaded out-of-this-world sound.
Xavier Bonfill: Yes for No (premiere)
Matias Vestergård: …Through its Darkness (premiere)
Julia Wolfe: Flower Power (Scandinavian premiere)
Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Cottis, present the Scandinavian premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power on the 2020 Pulsar Festival.
Gerald Barry: Viola Concerto
Julia Wolfe: Flower Power
Bang on a Can All-Stars and the RTE Orchestra present the Irish premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power as part of the New Music Dublin series at the National Concert Hall!
John Adams: The Chairman Dances
Julia Wolfe: Flower Power (UK premiere)
Steve Martland: Horses of Instruction
Philip Glass: Symphony no. 3
Bang on a Can All-Stars and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, conductor, present the UK premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power at the Southbank Centre!
Bang on a Can and the Jewish Museum present Nicole Mitchell! Nicole Mitchell’s trio Matape, with Val Jeanty and Chad Taylor, creates ancient future soundscapes informed by the African diaspora through flute, Afro-Electronica, and percussion. This season’s Bang on a Can performances celebrate the unique power of artist’s voices, and Mitchell, emerging from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 90s, continues that theme.
(Photo by Kristi Sutton Elias)
The Los Angeles Philharmonic (conducted by John Adams) and the Bang on a Can All-Stars join forces for the world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power, inspired by a radical revolutionary moment – the late 1960’s – a time when experimental ideas and questions permeated all parts of the political, social, and artistic landscapes. This shift brought new spiritual and intellectual explorations, a breakdown of social norms, psychedelic visions, artistic explosion, and a greater and more open expression of love and peace. In Flower Power, Wolfe draws on the optimism and energy of this moment in history. With visuals by Jeff Sugg.
Musiktage / Staatsoper Hannover Hanover
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Dallas Symphony - Moody Performance Hall map
Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields with the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Verdigris Ensemble Chorus!
LA Opera Off Grand - Ace Hotel Los Angeles
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David Lang returns to the LA Opera with the west coast premiere of his intimate work for baritone, piano and chamber ensemble – the loser – starring baritone Rod Gilfry
Music, libretto and stage direction: David Lang
Text adapted from the novel by Thomas Bernhard, translated from German by Jack Dawson
Scenery: Jim Findlay
Costumes: Suzanne Bocanegra
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
Two shows, Feb 22 and Feb 23
Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields with the National Forum of Music Choir, led by Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny in Wroclaw, Poland!
Also on the program:
Michael Gordon, For Madeline
David Lang, Little Match Girl Passion
2 shows! January 12 and 13
The Bang on a Can All-Stars and Cantus Domus, Ralf Sochaczewsky, conductor, will perform Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields in Berlin, Germany!
Open Space KC Kansas City
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Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields comes to Kansas City! We are delighted to be partnering with Open Spaces and the KC Chorale.
Kennedy Center Washington
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The Bang on a Can All-Stars reunite with the Choir of Trinity Wall St, conducted by Julian Wachner, for this performance of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields in Washington DC!
This event is part of the Kennedy Center’s annual new celebration DIRECT CURRENT–an immersive showcase for cutting-edge contemporary arts and culture with a focus on interdisciplinary creations.
Grand Theater Gronigen
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Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer-prize winning oratorio Anthracite Fields will be presented on the Autumn Strings Festival in Prague! The Bang on a Can All-Stars will be joined by the Martinů Voices, conducted by Lukáš Vasilek.
Ford Theater Los Angeles
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We call it Road Trip. The tank is full, the top is down, and we have our collective hand on the dial for a euphoric musical journey celebrating 30 years of Bang on a Can. Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe flood the waves with an original mash-up of wind-in-your-hair tunes that capture the sublime exhilaration of freedom and possibility. Performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, with stunning scenic design by projection artist CandyStations (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent) and stage direction by Michael Counts, “Road Trip” is a tribute to journeys of all sorts, and the people who make them. There is a road, but it is no simple highway.
The All-Stars perform selections from the new collaboration between Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe – Road Trip! As well as classics from their repertoire – sunray, cheating lying stealing, and Lick. Klaipeda Festival in Lithuania.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars and Julia Wolfe will be in residence at Drew University April 24-26!
Monday 24 April
7-9PM Steel Hammer – An Inside Look: A Discussion with Julia Wolfe and the Bang on a Can All-Stars on the Making of Steel Hammer
In this lecture demonstration Julia Wolfe and the Bang on a Can All-Stars will perform music and discuss the building of this new work which explores the quintessential American worker ballad John Henry, and its implication for labor history then and now. Q&A following the talk.
Tuesday 25 April
1:15-3:45PM Open Reading of Student Works (For the class: Special Topics in Documentary Expression, co-taught by Julia Wolfe and Associate Professor of Art Rebecca Soderholm) and Q&A with the musicians.
Wednesday 26 April
3:30-6:30PM Open rehearsal for 8PM concert, plus Q&A with the musicians
8PM: The Bang on a Can All-Stars perform Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer
All events are free and open to the public!
Roebling Wire Works 675 South Clinton Avenue
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Presented as part of Westminster’s Transforming Space project, the All-Stars and the Westminster Choir perform Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer prize winning oratorio Anthracite Fields, in the monumental space of the Roebling Wireworks in Trenton, NJ. Staging for this performance by Doug Varone!
Pre-Performance Talk for both April 21 and 22 shows at 7:15 p.m – Julia Wolfe, conductor Joe Miller and historian and preservationist Clifford Zink will present a talk about Anthracite Fields, the significance of the performance site and the Transforming Space project before each performance. Coal from the Anthracite mines played a vital role in Trenton’s industrial success, which inspired the slogan “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.”
The Bang on a Can All-Stars and SITI Company perform Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer on the Arts and Ideas Festival in New Haven, CT
Directed by Anne Bogart
Music & Lyrics by Julia Wolfe
Original text by Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux, and Regina Taylor
music performed by Bang on a Can All-Stars
play performed and created by SITI Company
Lighting Design by Brian H Scott
Scenic & Costume Design by James Schuette
Choreography by Barney O’Hanlon
Sound Design by Andrew Cotton and Christian Frederickson
Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Ralf Chaczewsky perform Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields at the Queens Hall at Black Diamond, the brand new extension of the Danish National Library.
Disney Hall Los Angeles
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The West Coast Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields! Performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the LA Master Chorale, with visual designs by Jeff Sugg.
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 its creation, Wolfe will give a talk at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, and the public is invited to take a tour of the Lackawanna coal mine. 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.
This part of Pennsylvania coal region is two and a half hours from Philadelphia and New York City. Perfect for a day trip!
Nov 14 Schedule:
Lackawanna Coal Mine tours available from 10am to 2:45pm
3:15-4:45pm: Anthracite Heritage Museum visit and talk with Julia Wolfe (admission is free on Nov 14)
6:30pm: Pre-Concert talk at the Kirby Center, Wyoming Seminary
7:30pm: Concert (A portion of the proceeds from the concert are to benefit the Anthracite Heritage Museum.)