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Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields

Saturday, December 1, 2018 9 PM Zankel Hall
Anthracite Fields by Chris Lee
“The music compels without overstatement,” wrote the Los Angeles Times of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthracite Fields. “This is a major, profound work.” Inspired by miners living in the Pennsylvania coal region, Wolfe uses oral histories, interviews with miners and their families, speeches, children’s rhymes, and other sources to create a powerful cantata that speaks of the American worker’s experience. With music that is at times elegiac, hard-driving, and tender, Wolfe creates a soundscape that is deeply moving.


Bang on a Can All-Stars
·· Ashley Bathgate, Cello and Voice
·· Robert Black, Bass
·· Vicky Chow, Piano and Keyboard
·· David Cossin, Percussion
·· Mark Stewart, Guitar and Voice
·· Ken Thomson, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet
·· Andrew Cotton, Sound Engineer
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Julian Wachner, Director
Jeff Sugg, Scenography and Projection Design


JULIA WOLFE Anthracite Fields

Event Duration

The program will last approximately 75 minutes without intermission. 

Pre-Concert Talk

Pre-concert talk at 8 PM: Composer Julia Wolfe and scenographer Jeff Sugg in conversation with John Schaefer, host of WNYC's New Sounds and Soundcheck.

Late Nights at Zankel Hall

Join us for a pre-concert drink at the Parterre Bar in Zankel Hall before concerts that start at 9 PM or later.
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Bang on a Can All-Stars

Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the ...

Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a category-defying identity. With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group’s distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right. Performing each year across the US and internationally, the group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recording of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittová, Thurston Moore, and others. Recent project highlights include the premiere performance of Road Trip, an immersive and visually stunning concert collaboratively composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe to commemorate the more than 30-year journey of Bang on a Can; performances and a recording of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthracite Fields for the All-Stars and guest choir; Field Recordings, a major multimedia project and two CD/DVD releases that feature more than 30 commissioned works by pioneering musicians from across all genres and borders; and the world premiere and album release of Cloud River Mountain, a new collaboration featuring Chinese superstar singer Gong Linna. The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal, and Nonesuch.

American cellist
Ashley Bathgate is one of the most sought-after performers of her time. The desire to create a dynamic energy exchange with her audience and build upon the ensuing chemistry is a pillar of Bathgate’s philosophy as a performer. Her affinity to dynamism drives Bathgate to venture into previously uncharted areas of groundbreaking sounds and techniques, breaking the mold of a cello’s traditionally perceived voice. Collaborators and fans alike describe her vitality as nothing short of remarkable and magical for all who are involved. She is a member of the award-winning, internationally acclaimed sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars, the chamber music group HOWL, as well as two chamber groups of which she is a founding member: TwoSense and Bonjour. For more information, visit ashleybathgate.com.

Robert Black tours the world creating unheard of music for the solo double bass, collaborating with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He is a founding and current member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and a new member of Cuatro Puntos. Current projects include commissions from John Luther Adams (bass quartet), Swiss composer Marcel Zaes (bass trio), Natacha Diels (bass duet), Philip Glass (solo bass); Possessed, a series of improvisations performed in Utah’s rugged canyon-desert landscape; and a collaborative work with dancer-choreographer Katie Stevinson-Nollet. Solo recordings include Possessed, Modern American Bass, and State of the Bass. Black teaches at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, Manhattan School of Music, and Vermont’s New Music on the Point.

Vicky Chow is pianist for Bang on a Can All-Stars, X88, Chow/Reimer Duo, Grand Band, and New Music Detroit. In addition, she has collaborated with the International Contemporary Ensemble. Her sophomore album, A O R T A, was celebrated by audiences and critics alike. Her recordings of Steve Reich’s Piano Counterpoint and Tristan Perich’s Surface Image were included in the “top albums of the year” lists in Rolling Stone and on Rhapsody. Chow’s recorded work can be found on the Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Tzadik, Cantaloupe Music, Innova, Hinterzimmer, and Altavoz labels. Vicky Chow is a Yamaha Artist. For more information, visit vickychow.com.

David Cossin was born and raised in Queens and studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. His interest in classical percussion, drum set, non-Western hand drumming, composition, and improvisation has led to performances across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms. He has recorded and performed internationally with Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet, as well as with Sting on his Symphonicity world tour. Cossin’s theater work includes Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and projects with director Peter Sellars. Cossin was featured as the solo percussionist in Tan Dun’s award-winning score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. His sonic installations have been presented in New York, Italy, and Germany, and he is also an active composer and instrument inventor, expanding the limits of traditional percussion. Cossin teaches percussion at the Aaron Copland School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program. 

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer, and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world in performances of old and new music. Since 1998, he has recorded and toured with Paul Simon, in addition to serving as his musical director. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard and theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer, Stewart has also worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Philip Glass, Iva Bittová, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, Edie Brickell, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Hugh Masekela, Paul McCartney, Cecil Taylor, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Cliff, Charles Wuorinen, The Everly Brothers, Steve Gadd, Fred Frith, Alison Krauss, David Krakauer, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, Bette Midler, and Marc Ribot. Stewart is the curator of the immersive Gunnar Schonbeck exhibit of musical instruments at MASS MoCA. He lives in New York City, where he makes his living by playing and writing popular, semi-popular, and unpopular music, in addition to designing instruments that everyone can play.

Ken Thomson is a staple of New York City’s contemporary music and jazz communities—an instrumentalist and composer widely regarded for his ability to blend a rich variety of influences and styles into his own musical language, while maintaining a voice unmistakably his own. With his quintet, Slow/Fast, he has toured internationally and released two discs, including Settle. As a composer, he has released two discs, Thaw (with the JACK Quartet) and Restless (featuring Ashley Bathgate and Karl Larson). Thomson recently released his new album, Sextet, which will be accompanied by a US and European tour. He is also active as a freelance clarinetist in New York, performing with Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, and NOVUS NY. He is a Conn-Selmer / Selmer Paris and D’Addario Woodwinds artist. For more information, visit ktonline.net.

In his role as tour manager and engineer,
Andrew Cotton collaborates with both composers and musicians in creating new works. Cotton has worked closely with several major London-based producers, specializing in contemporary music projects with artists and concert series as diverse as Elvis Costello and John Harle, the BBC Proms, Meltdown, George Russell, Carla Bley, and Talvin Singh. He collaborates with composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang on their pieces for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, as well as works for large ensemble, dance, and theater. Cotton is technical manager and sound collaborator with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

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The Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Peerless, Grammy-nominated interpreters of both early and new music, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street has changed the realm of vocal music in the 21st century. The choir leads liturgical ...

Peerless, Grammy-nominated interpreters of both early and new music, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street has changed the realm of vocal music in the 21st century. The choir leads liturgical music each Sunday, and also performs in the Bach at One series, Compline by Candlelight, and many other concerts and festivals throughout the year, often with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, NOVUS NY, and the Trinity Youth Chorus. Each year, the choir anchors Trinity’s Time Arrow festival, while its celebrated performances of Handel’s Messiah have become a long and storied annual tradition.

The choir has toured extensively across the United States, making appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Berkeley Early Music Festival, BAM Next Wave Festival, and Prototype Festival. The choir is also increasingly in demand internationally; recent seasons have seen performances at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and London’s Barbican Theatre. The choir has been featured with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, New York Philharmonic, and The Rolling Stones on their 50th-anniversary tour.

In addition to its Grammy-nominated Israel in Egypt, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street has released recordings on Naxos, Musica Omnia, VIA Records, ARSIS, and Avie Records. Trinity’s long-term commitment to new music is evident in collaborations with composers Paola Prestini, Ellen Reid, Ralf Gawlick, Elena Ruehr, and Julia Wolfe, whose Pulitzer Prize–winning and Grammy-nominated Anthracite Fields was recorded with the choir. The choir also collaborated in the creation of the Trinity co-presented Angel’s Bone, an opera by Du Yun that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.

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Julian Wachner

As director of music at New York’s historic Trinity Church Wall Street, Julian Wachner oversees an annual season of hundreds of events. Besides serving as principal conductor of The ...

As director of music at New York’s historic Trinity Church Wall Street, Julian Wachner oversees an annual season of hundreds of events. Besides serving as principal conductor of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and NOVUS NY, Wachner was recently appointed artistic director of Michigan’s Grand Rapids Bach Festival. As music director of the Grammy Award–winning Washington Chorus from 2008 to 2017, he was recognized with ASCAP’s Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming and Chorus America’s Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.

An active guest conductor, Wachner has led The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Seraphic Fire, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and Apollo’s Fire. He has also conducted at Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, and the Lincoln Center Festival, as well as at San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Juilliard Opera, and New York City Opera.

With multiple Grammy nominations to his credit, Wachner has recorded on the Chandos, Naxos, Erato, Cantaloupe Music, ARSIS, Avie, ATMA Classique, Dorian, Acis, VIA, and Musica Omnia labels. He is published exclusively by E.C. Schirmer and represented worldwide by Opus 3 Artists.

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Jeff Sugg

Jeff Sugg is a Philadelphia-based designer with more than 20 years of experience in the performing arts. Sugg has designed for a wide range of productions from Broadway to regional ...

Jeff Sugg is a Philadelphia-based designer with more than 20 years of experience in the performing arts. Sugg has designed for a wide range of productions from Broadway to regional theater to European concert halls. In addition to his collaboration with Julia Wolfe, Sugg has been a principal collaborator with music and theater artists, including Cynthia Hopkins, Jim Findlay, and Mikel Rouse. Select Broadway theater credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweat, Bring It On, and 33 Variations. His Off-Broadway credits include Mankind, The Layover, The Fortress of Solitude, An Octoroon, Tribes, and The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island. His London credits include Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. His credits working with music productions include Anthracite Fields and Prince’s final appearance on Saturday Night Live. Sugg is winner of Lucille Lortel, Obie, Bessie, and Henry Hewes Design awards.

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