On Monday, the DSO will perform Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, as part of SOLUNA 2019. We thought this would be the perfect time to revisit this 2014 NPR story about Wolfe and the Bang on a Can All-Stars on the PBS show “Arthur.”
We’ve all seen the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet and a Philip Glass score take star turns on Sesame Street. Now another beloved PBS kids’ show has put art music front and center. The animated Arthur has downtown music doyens the Bang on a Can All-Stars visit Elwood City for a concert. It’s part of the show’s Arts Week, which begins Monday.
It’s a pretty great setup. Muffy is experiencing the classic anxiety of feeling guiltily responsible for bringing her friend to a concert of weird, experimental music. But! It turns out Francine loves it. And as it also turns out, composer and Bang co-founder Julia Wolfe loves Elwood City right back: “It’s so uniquely … average.” (Bonus points to the show for trying to capture guitarist Mark Stewart’s hair. And breaking news update! Thanks to a current All-Star, we’ve learned that the other BoaC character was voiced by one of the group’s former members, clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn.)