Dallas Symphony Orchestra announces Julia Wolfe as Composer-in-Residence

Dallas, TX (September 11, 2018) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of American composer Julia Wolfe to its newly launched Composer-in-Residence program. Wolfe will join the DSO for two seasons, working closely with new Music Director Fabio Luisi on performances and workshops during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

Components of the residency will include:

Performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning work Anthracite Fields during the 2019 Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival. The work will receive its Texas premiere on Monday, April 15, 2019, at Moody Performance Hall. This special festival performance will feature Bang on a Can All-Stars and Dallas-based chamber choir Verdigris Ensemble. Tickets go on sale on October 19, 2018. Information on the work can be found at www.mydso.com/anthracitefields.

Dallas premiere of new orchestral work in the 2019/20 season. Co-commissioned in collaboration with the New World Symphony, Carnegie Hall and a consortium of major American orchestras, the DSO will give the Dallas premiere of a new orchestral work. Additional opportunities will be included for audiences, music students and patrons to interact with the composer.

Facilitation of a student composers’ workshop. Students from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts will have the opportunity to work with Julia Wolfe and receive feedback and perspective on their compositions.

Curation of a chamber music concert. Wolfe and members of the DSO will collaborate to choose works to perform in a special chamber music concert during the 2019/20 season.

Involvement in “Women in Classical Music” Symposium. This inaugural event in November 2019 will involve female conductors, orchestra musicians, composers, arts administrators, teachers and students, in collaboration with the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.

“Establishing a Composer-in-Residence position is a way for the DSO to have a large impact and to influence the conversation in classical music,” said Kim Noltemy, President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “Innovation in programming and the dialogue between composers and performers is invaluable to the future of the industry. We are delighted that Julia will be joining us throughout these two seasons to create new music and to also contribute to the discussion of women in classical music, which is a key element of the DSO’s new strategic plan.”

Earlier this summer, Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors Chairman Sanjiv Yajnik and Noltemy announced the new strategic plan for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In large, the plan aims to focus on the introduction of Music Director Fabio Luisi and his artistic vision, community engagement throughout Dallas’s southern sector, an elevation of the symphonic experience for today’s audiences, a reinvigoration of the DSO brand overall, long-term financial planning and a strong focus on women in classical music.


Julia Wolfe draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, bringing a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them.

Her Pulitzer-winning concert-length oratorio, Anthracite Fields for chorus and instruments, draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and more to honor the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Region. Other recent projects include the evening-length Steel Hammer for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and singers, and a “body concerto”, riSE and fLY, commissioned and premiered by the BBC, that features rapid-fire body slaps and street percussion. In 2019, the New York Philharmonic premieres Wolfe’s large-scale work for orchestra and women’s chorus, Fire in my mouth, continuing her interest in American labor history with the subject of women in New York’s garment industry at the turn of the previous century.

Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. She has written a major body of work for strings, from quartets to full orchestra. Her quartets, as described by The New Yorker, “combine the violent forward drive of rock music with an aura of minimalist serenity [using] the four instruments as a big guitar, whipping psychedelic states of mind into frenzied and ecstatic climaxes.” Her music has been heard at venues throughout the world and has been recorded on the Cantaloupe Music, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical, and Argo/Decca labels.

Wolfe is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and was a recipient of a 2015 Herb Alpert Award in Music. She is on faculty at the NYU Steinhardt School and is co-founder/co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. Her music is published by Red Poppy, Ltd. (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.