Composer Julia Wolfe on “Fire in my mouth”


This new piece for the Philharmonic is
the third piece in a series of pieces about the American worker. I had been
thinking about women in the workforce, and we’re talking about immigrant women
from Russia, Eastern Europe, and southern Italy, and they came with a skill set.
They know how to sew, and they wind up working on these huge factory floors. The
title was actually said by Clara Lemlich, who was one of the amazing political
leaders of the time. There was an interview with her later, some time
in 1950s, 1960s, and she said, “Ah, then I had fire in my mouth.” It’s a multimedia
piece; my collaborator Jeff Sugg is creating a projection design, we’re
working with photographs and other kinds of archival material. It’s such a gift, really,
to be able to lay that on these super high level musicians, with Jaap
conducting. It’s really thrilling. you