"'Steel Hammer' bangs out a spectacularly inventive social message."

Los Angeles Times

New Music
Bang on a Can All-Stars

Steel Hammer
New York’s iconoclastic contemporary music ensemble returns with an acclaimed oratorio by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe, a fascinating work that mines the sounds and stories of Appalachia. With Steel Hammer, Wolfe creates a musical amalgamation of every version of the folktale of "John Henry" that she could get her hands on—more than 200!—and weaves these often contradictory stories into an expansive allegory about the human cost of industrialization. The music marries folk cadences with driving rhythms in Wolfe’s densely 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. "A musical archaeology of a familiar tale—one that preserves, even enlarges, its central mystery" (The New Yorker).

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Donor Benefits

Donor Parking
As a service to our donors at the $750 level and above, we offer the opportunity to reserve parking for our performances. Reserve parking online 5 business days or more in advance of the performance, or by contacting Cal Performances' Development Department at 510.642.8653 or email donate@calperformances.org.

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Additional information regarding donor parking benefits can be found on our Donor Services/Parking page.

Program Notes

Program notes will be available approximately one week before the performance.