Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields
Part of: Julia Wolfe
Bang on a Can All-Stars
·· Robert Black, Bass
·· Vicky Chow, Piano
·· David Cossin, Percussion
·· Mariel Roberts, Cello and Voice
·· Mark Stewart, Guitar and Voice
·· Ken Thomson, Clarinets
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Lidiya Yankovskaya, Conductor
Jeff Sugg, Scenography and Projection Design
JULIA WOLFE Anthracite Fields
Event DurationThe program will last approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Julia Wolfe is holder of the 2021–2022 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.
Support for Julia Wolfe as holder of 2021–2022 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair is provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
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 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 throughout 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, Don Byron, Iva Bittová, Thurston Moore, and others. Current and recent project highlights include In C, a new dance collaboration with Sasha Waltz & Guests based on Terry Riley’s minimalist classic; Dance Party, a brand-new multimedia concert that pairs composers and choreographers; MEMORY GAME, a new record release and touring program that features legendary composer-singer Meredith Monk; Julia Wolfe’s Flower Power for Bang on a Can All-Stars and orchestra, a multimedia concert that explores the sonic landscape of the late 1960s; Road Trip, an immersive concert collaboratively composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Wolfe to commemorate more than 30 years of Bang on a Can; performances and a recording of Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthracite Fields for the All-Stars and guest choir; Field Recordings, a major multimedia project that features more 30 commissioned works by pioneering musicians from across all genres and borders; Cloud River Mountain, a collaboration with Chinese superstar singer Gong Linna; and more. The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music and have released recordings on the Sony, Universal, and Nonesuch labels.
Robert Black tours the world creating unheard-of music for double bass, collaborating with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Current projects include First Fridays with Robert Black, a monthly series of streamed solo bass recitals; an audio-video double-bass installation reflecting on the Anthropocene with sound artists Brian House and Sue Huang, filmed at the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York City; an outdoor environmental work for 24 basses with composer Eve Beglarian; and commissions from Carman Moore, Joan Tower, Nick Dunston, Žibuolkė Martinaitytė, Krists Auznieks, Jakhongir Shukurov, and Daniel Sabzghabaei. Solo recordings include Bass Partita and Poetry (Orange Mountain Music), Possessed (Cantaloupe Records), Modern American Bass (New World Records), Giacinto Scelsi: The Works for Solo Bass and Christian Wolff: Complete Works for Bass (Mode Records), and State of the Bass (O.O. Discs).
Hong Kong / Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists” (Pitchfork). Since joining the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 2009, she has collaborated with artists and ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, The Knights, Tyshawn Sorey, Andy Akiho, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and Momenta Quartet, to name a few. The New Yorker called her recording of Michael Gordon’s Sonatra “a milestone of pianism.” Her album Tristan Perich: Surface Image, released in 2013 on New Amsterdam Records, was among Rolling Stone’s top 10 avant-garde music albums. In 2022, she releases three new solo albums on the Cantaloupe label. Her other recordings can be found on Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, and Tzadik, among others. During the pandemic, she worked with Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Company on a new production, Afterwardsness, which premiered at the Park Avenue Armory in October 2020, and toured Massachusetts and Minneapolis in fall 2021. Upcoming performances in spring 2022 include premieres of a new concerto by Krists Auznieks in Latvia and Surface Image in Paris, and album release concerts at Roulette in Brooklyn. She serves on the faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and was previously on the faculty of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She is on the board of advisors for Composers Now, and mentors musicians at The Juilliard School. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Chow is now based in Brooklyn. A graduate of Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music, she is a Yamaha Artist.
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. Cossin has recorded and performed internationally with Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, the trio Real Quiet, and Sting on his Symphonicity world tour. Theater work includes Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and projects with director Peter Sellars. He was featured as 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 Orchestra philharmonique de Radio France. His sonic installations have been presented in New York, Italy, and Germany. He is also an active producer, 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.
American cellist and composer Mariel Roberts is known not just for her virtuosic performances, but also as a “fearless explorer” in her field (Chicago Reader). Her ravenous appetite for collaboration and experimentation as an interpreter, improviser, and composer have helped create a body of work that bridges avant-garde, contemporary, classical, improvised, and traditional music. Roberts is widely recognized for her “technical and interpretive mastery” (I Care If You Listen) and for performances that seethe with “excruciating intensity” (The WholeNote). She has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across four continents, most notably as member and co-director of the Wet Ink Ensemble—named Best Classical Music Ensemble of 2018 by The New York Times—as well as with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and Ensemble Signal. She performs regularly on major stages for new music, such as the Lincoln Center Festival, Wien Modern, Lucerne Festival, International Cervantino Festival, KLANG Festival, Shanghai New Music Week, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, and Aldeburgh Festival. Her compositions have been performed at venues such as Merkin Hall and Miller Theatre in New York City
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer, and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Since 1998, he has recorded and toured as guitarist and music director with Paul Simon. Stewart is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard and theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer. He 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, 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. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes; and the Big Boing, a 24-foot–long sonic banquet table mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects. Stewart is a visiting lecturer in musical instrument design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a curator of the immersive exhibit of Gunnar Schonbeck’s musical instruments at MASS MoCA, and co-founder of soundstewArt, a company that designs instruments, immersive sound environments, and community music-making experiences. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and North Adams, Massachusetts, playing, singing, writing popular music, semi-popular music, and unpopular music, while designing instruments that everyone can play.
Ken Thomson is 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. He has a growing catalog of compositions for ensembles of different sizes, and has toured with and released a number of albums with groups that he has created. His bands Sextet, and, before that, Slow/Fast, combine the sounds of jazz and contemporary music in through-composed small-group settings. Two recordings of his chamber music are available: Restless with Karl Larson and Ashley Bathgate, and Thaw with JACK Quartet. With the newly formed Anzû Quartet, he has recorded his own work as well as Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, for release in 2022. He is also active as a freelance clarinetist and saxophonist, performing with Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Novus, and more. He is on the faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute. He endorses D’Addario reeds, F. Arthur Uebel clarinets, and Yanagisawa saxophones (Conn-Selmer). He splits his time between Brooklyn and Berlin.
In his role as tour manager and sound engineer, Andrew Cotton works closely with both composers and musicians in creating new works. He works with several major producers, specializing in contemporary music projects with artists and concert series as diverse as Elvis Costello, John Harle, BBC Proms, Meltdown, George Russell, Carla Bley, Talvin Singh, Coldcut, KT Tunstall, Andy Sheppard, Angélique Kidjo, Manu Dibango, Iva Bittová, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, among others. He regularly collaborates with composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang on their pieces for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and large ensemble, dance, and theater. Cotton serves as technical manager and sound collaborator with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. As a sound designer, he has worked on the productions The Carbon Copy Building (Turin, New York, Hamburg, and Liverpool) and The New Yorkers (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Jocelyn Pook’s Hearing Voices; Wolfe’s riSE and fLY; Wolfe, Gordon, and Lang’s Road Trip; BBC Scotland’s Hogmanay; Ballet Tech’s events at The Joyce Theater; and the Bang on a Can Marathons, among other events.
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Peerless interpreters of both early and new music, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street has redefined 21st-century vocal music, breaking new ground with artistry described as “blazing with vigor … a choir from heaven” (The Times, London). This premier ensemble can be heard live, online, and in recordings in performances described as “thrilling” (The New Yorker), “musically top-notch” (The Wall Street Journal), and “simply superb” (The New York Times).
In addition to leading daily liturgical music at Trinity Church, over the past two years, the choir has produced many video performances that highlight Anglican repertoire. These recordings were featured weekly on Trinity’s Comfort at One series and included a partnership with Amplify Female Composers. A typical season for the choir includes performing in the Bach + One series, Compline by Candlelight, and many other concerts and festivals throughout the year, often with NOVUS NY, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the Trinity Youth Chorus. The choir anchors Trinity’s critically acclaimed performances of Handel’s Messiah, which The New York Times has declared “the best Messiah in New York.”
The choir has toured extensively throughout the United States, making appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Shed, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, BAM Next Wave Festival, and Prototype Festival, among others. Increasingly in demand internationally, the choir has also performed in recent seasons at Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Norway’s Stavanger Cathedral, and London’s Barbican Theatre. Performance partners have included the Bang on a Can All-Stars, New York Philharmonic, and The Rolling Stones. The choir was featured in the 150 Psalms project, performing at the Utrecht Early Music Festival and Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival.
In addition to the Grammy Award–nominated recordings Luna Pearl Woolf: Fire and Flood and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, the choir has released recordings on Naxos, Musica Omnia, Pentatone, VIA Records, ARSIS, Avie Records, Acis, Broadway Records, Cantaloupe Music, Decca Gold, and Philip Glass’s Orange Mountain Music, which released Trinity’s monumental performance of Glass’s Symphony No. 5. Trinity’s long-term commitment to new music has led to many collaborations with living composers, including Trevor Weston, Paola Prestini, Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, Elena Ruehr, and Julia Wolfe, whose 2015 Pulitzer Prize–winning and Grammy Award–nominated work Anthracite Fields was recorded with the choir. Along with NOVUS NY, the choir also collaborated on and recorded two Pulitzer Prize–winning operas: Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone and Ellen Reid’s p r i s m.
Lidiya Yankovskaya is a fiercely committed advocate for Russian masterpieces, operatic rarities, and contemporary works on the leading edge of classical music. She has conducted more than 40 world premieres—including 16 operas—and her strength as a visionary collaborator has guided new perspectives on staged and symphonic repertoire from Carmen and The Queen of Spades to Price and Prokofiev. Her daring performances before and amid the pandemic earned recognition from the Chicago Tribune, which praised her as “the very model of how to survive adversity, and also how to thrive in it,” while naming her 2020 Chicagoan of the Year.
Ms. Yankovskaya has recently conducted Carmen at Houston Grand Opera, Don Giovanni at Seattle Opera, Pia de’ Tolomei at Spoleto Festival USA, Il barbiere di Siviglia at Wolf Trap Opera, Ellen West at the Prototype Festival, and the world premiere of Taking Up Serpents at Washington National Opera. As music director of Chicago Opera Theater, Ms. Yankovskaya has led the world premiere of Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride and the Chicago premieres of Joby Talbot’s Everest, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus, Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick.
On the concert stage, Ms. Yankovskaya has led recent performances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming symphonic debuts include the Omaha Symphony, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Ms. Yankovskaya is founder and artistic director of the Refugee Orchestra Project (ROP), which proclaims the cultural and societal relevance of refugees through music. In addition to a National Sawdust residency in Brooklyn, ROP has performed in London; Boston; Washington, DC; and at the United Nations. She has also served as artistic director of the Boston New Music Festival and Juventas New Music Ensemble, which received multiple National Endowment for the Arts grants and National Opera Association awards under her leadership.
Ms. Yankovskaya’s belief in the importance of mentorship has fueled the establishment of Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Initiative, an investment in new opera that includes a two-year residency for emerging opera composers. Committed to developing the next generation of artistic leadership, she also volunteers with Turn the Spotlight, a mentorship program dedicated to identifying, nurturing, and empowering leaders, and illuminating the path to a more equitable future in the arts.
An alumna of Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors and the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, Ms. Yankovskaya is the proud recipient of Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Awards in 2018 and 2021. She has been a featured speaker at the League of American Orchestras and Opera America conferences, and served as US representative to the 2018 World Opera Forum in Madrid.
Jeff Sugg is a Tony Award–nominated designer and theater maker with more than 25 years of experience in the performing arts. Mr. Sugg has designed for a wide range of productions from Broadway to regional theater to international concert halls. In addition to Julia Wolfe, he has been a principal collaborator with music and theater artists that include The Wooster Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Jim Findlay, and Mikel Rouse. Select Broadway theater credits include Mr. Saturday Night, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (also West End), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (also touring), Sweat, Bring It On, and 33 Variations. His off-Broadway and regional credits include Second Stage, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, BAM, Lincoln Center, Steppenwolf Theatre, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and dozens more. His work with music productions has included Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, Flower Power, and her Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthracite Fields; a new symphonic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Prince’s final appearance on Saturday Night Live. Mr. Sugg is the recipient of Lucille Lortel, Obie, Bessie, and Henry Hewes Design awards.