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Steel Hammer at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA July 27

On July 27, the Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art and Bang on a Can present Julia Wolfe’s mesmerizing evening-length art ballad Steel Hammer as part of the Bang on a Can Summer Festival.

The work is inspired by her love for the legends and music of Appalachia, and culls from both the music and oral traditions of the region. The text is taken from over 200 versions of the John Henry ballad – based on hearsay, recollection, and tall tales – and explores the subject of human vs…

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interviews

Big risks and adventurous friends: How composer Julia Wolfe became a renegade

September 15, 2022
Peter Serling download original
NPR Music
Editors’ Picks

Sometimes, all you need is a little push. In the fall of 1976, when Julia Wolfe arrived at the University of Michigan from Pennsylvania, she was just 17 and viewed herself as a “wild teenager” with her sights on social sciences and politics. Activism was a possible path. Music wasn’t on her radar.

But one day, a friend coaxed Wolfe into taking a peculiar music class, taught by a forward-thinking Quaker who didn’t care how much you knew about composing…

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2022 Artistic Director of Finland’s Avanti! Summer Sounds Festival

I am excited to join the Avanti musicians for the 2022 festival entitled “Body Language.” Each concert has its own unique design – setting up sympathetic resonances and contrasts to create unfolding sonic journeys. New American music abounds. Historic renegades sit side by side with music hot-off-the press. Many of my own works will be performed in Finland for the very first time, including Steel Hammer featuring the magical voices of Trio Mediaeval, and riSE and fLY with the rapid-fire body percussion of Colin Currie, Cruel Sister, Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (version for orchestra), among others…

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interviews

The New York Times

February 1, 2011

By Allan Kozinn

Like most composers, Julia Wolfe is often in two places at once psychically: working on new pieces (with working defined as anything from cogitating and experimenting to actually putting the notes on paper) but also seeing that the backlist is getting attention. In recent weeks she has been putting the finishing touches on “Iron Maiden,” a new solo work for the percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and working on “Combat de Boxe,” for the Asko Ensemble of the Netherlands…

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Flower Power premieres with LA Phil and 3 European orchestras

Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power had three European premieres before the pandemic (each featuring the Bang on a Can All-Stars): London, February 28, 2020 with the BBC Concert Orchestra; Dublin, March 28, 2020 with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Copenhagen, March 5, 2020 with the Danish Radio Symphony.

The work received its world premiere January 18-19, 2020 at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles by the LA Philharmonic, with conductor John Adams and the Bang on a Can All-Stars…

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