Her Pulitzer-winning, concert-length oratorio, Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields
, for chorus and instruments, draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and local advertisements to honor the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. The recording was nominated for a Grammy. Wolfe’s interest in labor history has informed her recent work, including Steel Hammer
, an evening-length art-ballad culled from more than 200 versions of the John Henry legend and based on hearsay, recollection, and tall tales that explore the subject of human versus machine. An upcoming commission for the New York Philharmonic focuses on the history of female garment workers in the city.
She is a co-founder of the music collective Bang on a Can and a member of the NYU Steinhardt School composition faculty.