Julia Wolfe draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, bringing a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them.
Her Pulitzer prize-winning concert-length oratorio, Anthracite Fields for chorus and instruments, draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and more to honor the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Region. Other recent projects include her evening-length Steel Hammer for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and singers which toured in an expanded theatrical form with director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company. In January 2019, the New York Philharmonic premiered Fire in my mouth, Wolfe’s large-scale work for orchestra and women’s chorus, continuing her interest in American labor history with the subject of women in New York’s garment industry at the turn of the century. Upcoming projects include new works for SO Percussion, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony.
Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. She has written a major body of work for strings, from quartets to full orchestra. Her music has been heard at venues throughout the world and has been recorded on the Cantaloupe Music, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical, and Argo/Decca labels.
Wolfe is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and was a recipient of a 2015 Herb Alpert Award in Music. She is on faculty at the NYU Steinhardt School and is co-founder/co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. Her music is published by Red Poppy, Ltd. (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.