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.
These premieres came after a densely-packed 2019 including 2 Grammy nominations and premieres of her music by orchestras around the United States: Fire in my mouth premiered by the New York Philharmonic; Fountain of Youth premiered by the New World Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony.
A concerto for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and orchestra (with video art by Jeff Sugg), Flower Power was co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Danish Radio Symphony; it takes inspiration from the social/cultural shifts of the late 1960s.
Flower Power is about optimism, idealism, psychedelia, breaking with convention, and a little bit of love and peace. My recent large-scale works have addressed important moments in American history. The same is true for Flower Power, though it has no text. As a post-60s child, I experienced the afterglow of the 1960s revolution. And the after-ring was still resounding in the late 1970s. There was a sense that a better world was possible. In the strange moment we are in now, ‘when all the world is a hopeless jumble,’ I think about that remarkable turning point in American history, and in American music – a time of new ideas, and hope. Flower Power draws on my memory of this political and artistic time period, harnessing the energy and power of liberation and activism. The new work features the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the house band of the collective that I helped to create 30 some years ago. I developed my artistic voice with this band, finding a new way of expression, and a new freedom. As I bring this aesthetic to the orchestra world and team up with the amazing Los Angeles Philharmonic, the fusion offers expansive possibilities.