Professor of Music Composition; Artistic Director of Music Composition
Music and Performing Arts Professions
Julia Wolfe is an internationally celebrated composer. She is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her work Anthracite Fields (for chorus and instruments) which draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and more to depict the history of labor and hardship in the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Region. Other recent large-scale works include Fire in my mouth commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for full orchestra and women’s chorus (146 singers) continuing her interest in American labor history with the subject of immigrant women in New York’s garment industry at the turn of the century, and Her Story commissioned by a consortium of five orchestras (Boston, Chicago, Nashville, National, and San Francisco Symphonies) with the women’s chamber choir Lorelei, that addresses the long struggle for women’s equality. Wolfe’s Fountain of Youth, for orchestra, has been performed throughout the US and received its recent European premiere with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Her multi-media Flower Power for orchestra and the Bang on a Can All-Stars was commissioned and premiered by The Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Upcoming premieres in spring 2023 include Pretty for the Berlin Philharmonic, and unEarth, a new multi-media work addressing issues of climate change, written for the New York Philharmonic, The Crossing, and Young People’s Chorus of New York City, directed by Anne Kauffman. Wolfe is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the 2022 Debs Chair Composer-in-Residence at Carnegie Hall, Princeton University’s 2022 Madison Medal, the 2020 Brendan Gill Prize, Musical America’s 2019 Composer of the Year, election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honorary doctorate from Drew University, and Composer-in-Residence at Finland’s Avanti Festival, among others. Wolfe has collaborated with theater artist Anna Deavere Smith, architects Diller Scofidio+Renfro, directors Anne Bogart, François Girard, and Anne Kauffman, scenic designers Lucy McKinnon, Laurie Olinder, and Jeff Sugg, and filmmaker Bill Morrison.
Julia Wolfe is a founder/co-artistic director of the New York based music collective Bang on a Can. She received her PhD from Princeton University, MM from the Yale School of Music, and BA from the Residential College at the University of Michigan. Her music is published by Red Poppy Music and G. Ricordi & Co., New York (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by the Universal Music Publishing Group.