Boston-based Nationally Acclaimed Vocal Ensemble Lorelei set announces the composer’s 2022-2023 creations Julia Wolf‘s Her Story, a 30-minute piece for orchestra and female vocal ensemble, co-commissioned and co-presented by the Nashville Symphony hosted by Giancarlo Guerrero (Thursday September 15, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.; Friday September 16, 2022 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday September 17, 2022 at 8:00 p.m.), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by the conductor Marin Alsop (Friday January 6, 2023 at 8 p.m. and Saturday January 7, 2023 at 8 p.m.), Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by conductor Giancarlo Guerrero (Thursday March 16, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday March 17, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.; and Saturday March 18, 2023 at 8:00 p.m.), and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by conductor Giancarlo Guerrero (Thursday May 25, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday May 27, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.). A performance with the National Symphony Orchestra will be announced at a later date.
Written for the Lorelei Ensemble and Orchestra, Her Story invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments to pay homage to centuries of continued struggle for equal rights for women in America. The 30-minute piece for orchestra and female vocal ensemble incorporates texts from across the history of women’s struggle for equality, ranging from a letter written by Abigail Adams, to words attributed to Sojourner Truth, to public attacks directed at women protesting for the right to vote, to political satire, and is the latest in a series of compositions by Wolfe highlighting monumental and turbulent moments in the American history and culture, and the people – both real and imagined, celebrated and forgotten, it has defined them. World premiere performances with the Nashville Symphony will be recorded for an upcoming album.
NPR described Julia Wolf as “our work documentarian, tackling historical issues that resonate today… By marrying history and music, Wolfe compels us to look to our past to protect our future.” The immersive visual performances will be led by Anne Kauffman with a scenic and luminous conception of Jeff Suggcostume Marion Tallanand produced by Bang on a Can.
“Women have been fighting for equality since the nation began,” Wolfe writes. “Her Story captures the passion and perseverance of women refusing subordination, demanding representation and challenging the prejudices and power structures that have limited women’s voices. The dynamic vocal artists of Lorelei Ensemble join forces with five major American orchestras to tell this important but much overlooked thread of American political history.”
Wolfe’s previous works include Steel Hammer, a retelling of the John Henry ballad that deconstructs and reconstructs the history of history; Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields, an immersive oratorio exploring the American coal industry at its peak and its human cost; and Fire in my mouth, which focuses on the passionate activism of young immigrant women in New York’s garment industry in the early 20th century, centered on the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.
The impetus for the piece stems from Beth Willer, Artistic Director of the Lorelei Ensemble,’s longtime admiration for Wolfe’s work. She emphasizes the importance of composition at this particular time in our history, saying, “I was absolutely captivated by the work of Julia Wolf since directing her Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Anthracite Fields, in 2017. Her ability to uncover and organize the diverse voices surrounding the common and dramatic events of our nation’s rich and complicated history makes her a creator and an ideal collaborator for this project. We envisioned this piece as a celebration of the power and influence of American women in achieving equality and justice for all American citizens, marking the anniversary of the first women’s vote and elevating the continued work and important in strengthening democracy. It’s an incredible opportunity to work with Julia on a project that is sure to have a lasting impact, both artistically and culturally.”
Her Story was co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony and San Francisco Symphony and with the generous support of Linda and Stuart Nelson.