Julia Wolfe

Julia Wolfe. Photo by Peter Serling.

Drawing inspiration from the folk, classical and rock genres, Julia Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and relentless power that push performers to extremes and demand attention from the audience. A finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for her evening-length Steel Hammer, written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Trio Mediaeval, Wolfe’s music brings a modern sensibility to each genre while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. Her music has been heard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, Settembre Musica (Italy), Theatre de la Ville (Paris), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and has been recorded on Cantaloupe, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical and Argo/Decca. Wolfe has been a recipient of numerous grants, including awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, and a Fulbright to The Netherlands. Wolfe joined the New York University Steinhardt School’s composition faculty in 2009.

Wolfe is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. Gordon joined fellow Bang on a Can founders Michael Gordon and David Lang for a symposium at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in June 2009. The three composers spoke about their work as composers, impresarios, and entrepreneurs, and shared recorded examples of their music. Together, they also curated the first Philadelphia iteration of the Bang on a Can marathon, funded by the Center and presented by FringeArts in September 2010. Wolfe has also written a new 45-minute, multi-movement, hybrid choral work, Anthracite Fields, commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia with support from the Center. Premiered in April 2014, the new work draws inspiration from Anglo-American folk music and stories around coal mining communities in Pennsylvania, Wolfe’s home state. Wolfe has researched folk stories, traditional mining songs, and personal tales from the chorus and community at large, involving audiences directly in the creation of the work.


One of this country’s oldest choruses, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia seeks to advance the development of choral music as an art form.

In an article for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Trust Magazine, Tom Infield explores how the Center fulfills Pew’s long-standing commitment to arts and heritage in the region by supporting projects that reach a wide range of audiences.

Collaborators & Colleagues

After dancing as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1984 to 1993, and the White Oak Dance Project from 1994 to 1996, Patricia Lent teaches, stages, and conducts workshops at the Merce Cunningham Trust, where she is a Trustee and Director of Licensing.

Composer Vijay Iyer on the musical lineage that influences his artistic practice.

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Grants & Grantees

Moments of grace or insight or good writing actually are dependent on a day-to-day process.

Grants & Grantees

Kariamu Welsh is a dancer and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

Questions of Practice

WXPN general manager Roger LaMay talks with us about how digital platforms have shifted the role of curation in radio, the importance of collaboration in reaching new audiences, and what distinguishes WXPN from other media outlets.

As part of its Then and Now: Jazz Cubano series, Montgomery County Community College’s Lively Arts Series hosts Ninety Miles, a trio that blends traditional bebop with Latin and Afro-Caribbean influences.

Grants & Grantees

Two-time winners of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM Quartet has become known as one of the foremost chamber ensembles.

Grants & Grantees

Opera Philadelphia seeks to create productions of classic and new operatic works that assemble the finest international creative artists, and present a wide array of programming that educates, deepens, and diversifies opera audiences.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Limor Tomer
 is the General Manager of Concerts & Lectures and a curator of performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.