Steel Hammer on European tour

From May 9 through 13, Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer, her evening-length exploration of the American tale of John Henry, receives several European premieres with the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Trio Mediaeval.

May 9: Belgian premiere at the Concertgebouw Brugge

May 11: UK premiere at the Barbican Center in London, part of the festival A Scream and an Outrage

May 13: Swedish premiere at the Uppsala Konsert & Kongress

Wolfe explains her work:

Steel Hammer is inspired by my love for the legends and music of Appalachia…

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Julia 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 draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, bringing a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them.

The 2019 world premiere of Fire in my mouth, a large-scale work for orchestra and women’s chorus, by the New York Philharmonic with The Crossing and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, received extensive acclaim — one reviewer called the work “a monumental achievement in high musical drama, among the most commandingly imaginative and emotively potent works of any kind that I’ve ever experienced.” (The Nation Magazine) The work is the third in a series of compositions about the American worker: 2009’s Steel Hammer examines the folk-hero John Henry, and the 2015 Pulitzer prize-winning work, Anthracite Fields, a concert-length oratorio 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…

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