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The Boston Globe


Bang on a Can Summer Festival opens up new music

NORTH ADAMS — Composer Julia Wolfe is used to writing music for ensembles of all shapes and sizes. But she’d never before written a score that called for clogging — nor wooden bones, banjo, or mountain dulcimer.

But “Steel Hammer,” her epic explosion and reconstruction of the folk ballad “John Henry,” called for a real down-home feel. Aptly, the musicians she works with tend to have meticulous conservatory training but catholic sensibilities when it comes to musical style.

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