Julia Wolfe

The music of Julia Wolfe 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.

Wolfe’s Her Story, a 45-minute semi-staged work for orchestra and women’s chamber choir, received its world premiere on Sept. 15, 2022, with the Nashville Symphony and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Co-commissioned by a consortium of five American orchestras, the work in performance features the vocal ensemble Lorelei, with stage direction by Anne Kauffman, lighting design by Jeff Sugg, costumes by Márion Talán de la Rosa and sound design by Andrew Cotton.

The world premiere will be followed by performances in the 2022-23 season from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Jan. 6–7), Boston Symphony Orchestra (March 16–18) and San Francisco Symphony (May 25–27). Concerts with additional commissioner National Symphony Orchestra will be announced at a later date. Her Story invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments to pay tribute to the centuries of ongoing struggle for equal rights and representation for women in America.

Other recent works include Fire in My Mouth (2019), a large-scale work for orchestra and women’s chorus, commissioned/premiered by the New York Philharmonic with the Crossing and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City; Forbidden Love (2019), a string quartet performed by percussionists, written for Sō Percussion and co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Kennedy Center, and Flower Power (2020), a concerto for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Danish National Symphony.

In addition to receiving the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music, Wolfe was a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. She received the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in Music and was named Musical America’s 2019 Composer of the Year. She is co-founder/co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can and artistic director of NYU Steinhardt Music Composition.

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.

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.