New York's electric Bang on a Can All-Stars team up with Nashville's SONUS (choir) for Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe's haunting, poignant and relentlessly physical 'Anthracite Fields,' an examination of the coal-mining industry so musically and socially provocative that it netted the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
In Anthracite Fields, Wolfe draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, geographic descriptions, children's rhymes, and coal advertisements to create a work that gives an intimate look at a particular slice of American life. With visually stunning projections by scenographer Jeff Sugg, Anthracite Fields honors the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal region during a time when the industry fueled the nation. Mark Swed of the LA Times remarks, "[Anthracite Fields] captures not only the sadness of hard lives lost…but also of the sweetness and passion of a way of daily life now also lost. The music compels without overstatement. This is a major, profound work."