Bang on a Can All-Stars—New York’s iconoclastic contemporary-music ensemble—performs Steel Hammer, an acclaimed oratorio by the group’s co-founder, Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe. Wolfe creates a musical combination of every version of the traditional American folktale of John Henry, weaving together more than 200 versions of the story into an expansive allegory about the human cost of industrialization and the role of perspective in storytelling. The music marries folk cadences with driving rhythms in Wolfe’s layered compositional style, and is performed by three female vocalists and a chamber ensemble that features hammered dulcimer, mouth harp, bones, clogs, banjo, and metal percussion. This performance is part of the Illuminations: Fact or Fiction series. Following the premiere, this performance will be available to view on demand for three months, from May 7 through August 4, 2021.
$15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.
Julia Wolfe Steel Hammer