Julia Wolfe

Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Martinů Voices, sbormistr Lukáš Vasilek

7. 11., 20:00
Forum Karlín

One of the most remarkable pieces of “new music” to emerge in recent years, Anthracite Fields is a deserving recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Performed by the legendary Bang on a Can All-Stars and Martinů Voices, Julia Wolfe’s composition is a soul-reaching exploration of the lives of American coal miners.

A moving oratorio for choir and chamber ensemble that tells the story of coal miners in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. The work – whose libretto makes use of oral history, mining lore, advertisements, and interviews Wolfe herself conducted with miners and their families – is at once deeply human and politically resonant. Music, text, and images combine to tell the story of the miners, evoking the horrors of life underground (anthracite is the purest form of coal, and notoriously difficult to mine) as well as the lighter moments in their lives. It is hard to disagree with the Los Angeles Times’ assessment of the piece as a “major, profound work.”

Julia Wolfe is one of the world’s most respected composers of contemporary music. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for Anthracite Fields, she received a 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2016. Bang on a Can All-Stars, the legendary ensemble co-founded by Wolfe, played on the 2015 recording of Anthracite Fields, and is considered among the world leaders in interpretation of contemporary music. Martinů Voices, led by Lukáš Vasilek, is perhaps the foremost chamber vocal ensemble in the country, and performed at Strings of Autumn in 2015 in a concert showcasing Zdeněk Liška’s music for the film Markéta Lazarová.

Anthracite Fields receives its Czech Republic premiere at Strings of Autumn, and Julia Wolfe herself will be in attendance, giving an on-stage interview to discuss both the piece and her work in general.