Haunting, poignant, and relentlessly physical, Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields is a lovingly detailed, multimedia oratorio about turn-of-the-20th-century Pennsylvania coal miners, and a fitting recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Weaving together personal interviews that she conducted with miners and their families, along with oral histories, speeches, rhymes, and local mining lore, Wolfe—composer of Steel Hammer, which Krannert Center audiences embraced in 2015—sought to honor the working lives of Pennsylvania's anthracite region. Featuring Bang on a Can All-Stars—the New York ensemble dedicated to building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders—Anthracite Fields encompasses multiple styles, from the deep, ambient sweep of the opening movement with the All-Stars' Mark Stewart wrenching waves of keening sound from his electric guitar to the high-energy work-song mood of "Breaker Boys."
This performance will last approximately 65 minutes with no intermission.
Honoring the University of Illinois sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017, Krannert Center and the School of Music collaboratively explore the extraordinary diversity of today’s vital contemporary music scene—a revival of the spirit of the University of Illinois Festival of Contemporary Arts, which was a major cultural force in the mid-20th century. Sonic Illinois, a month-long celebration of new music, will celebrate innovative creators who challenge convention, forge new pathways, and expand the creative process. See featured performances.