Investing in the musical life and legacy of Philadelphia

Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields

Posted By Jacob Smith on Jun 1st, 2015 in ,

Composer Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, an oratorio for chorus and sextet commissioned by Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Mendelssohn Club premiered the work on April 26, 2014 at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral along with the Bang on a Can All-Stars musical ensemble, which is based in New York City.

The Musical Fund Society was proud to support the commission and performance as part of its grant making activities.

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  1. Hi Jacob! Nice to see this blog pop up. Please feel free to use any photos of our Anthracite Fields performance that you wish from our Facebook page. There is also a really nice video that describes the whole project here: https://youtu.be/-qv9z9auBQw

  2. Andrew Quint says:

    When I was in private medical practice, our group shared an office in Colmar, Montgomery County with a pleasant, hard-working OB/GYN named Jack Fink. Jack was a solo practitioner and his warmly efficient office manager was his wife, Janet. One afternoon around 15 years ago, I was chatting with Janet who mentioned that her daughter was a composer; the information that she had worked with the Kronos string quartet definitely got my attention. Since then, I have followed the ever-more-visible career of Julia Wolfe—often in association with Bang on a Can All-Stars, the ensemble she co-founded in 1987—with admiration and even a little pride, as she was a locally-sourced (as they say at the supermarket) musician. When, on April 20, it was announced that Wolfe had won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Anthracite Fields, I felt—for no especially good reason—a real sense of pride and satisfaction, which increased exponentially when I learned that MFS had provided material support for the composition of the piece.

    The Music Prize has been awarded since 1943 to recognize a “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year” and Julia Wolfe is certainly in good company: previous winners include Aaron Copland (for Appalachian Spring), Samuel Barber, Elliott Carter, and John Adams. Anthracite Fields is dramatic and evocative and surely deserves a commercial recording. I don’t have much doubt that will happen—but the sooner the better.