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Julia Wolfe’s unEarth

Jun 01 - Jun 03


The World Premiere of unEarth, a multimedia event by Julia Wolfe that, in the composer’s words, “digs deep into the stories and science of our planet — looking at forced migrations, adaptations, species loss, land loss, and changing seas … singing our fears and hoping for a way forward.” Opening the program is Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, with NY Phil Concertmaster Frank Huang as soloist. 



7:30 PM





8:00 PM





8:00 PM




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Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


1 Hours 30 Minutes with Intermission


Additional Info
These concerts will be streamed on the Hauser Digital Wall.


Program Notes


Violin Concerto


Julia Wolfe

unEarth (World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Commission)


  • Jaap van Zweden


    Jaap van Zweden began his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2018. He also serves as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012, and becomes Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic in 2024. He has conducted orchestras on three continents, appearing as guest with, in Europe, the Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, and, in the United States, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other distinguished ensembles.

    In 2023–24, Jaap van Zweden’s New York Philharmonic farewell season will celebrate his connection with the Orchestra’s musicians as he leads performances in which six Principal players appear as concerto soloists. He also revisits the oeuvres of composers he has championed at the Philharmonic, ranging from Steve Reich and Joel Thompson to Mozart, conducting the Requiem, and Mahler, leading the Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. By the conclusion of his Philharmonic tenure, which has included the reopening of the transformed David Geffen Hall, he will have led the Orchestra in World, US, and New York Premieres of 31 works. Among them are pieces commissioned through Project 19 — which marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment with new works by 19 women composers, among them Tania León’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Stride. During the 2021–22 season, when David Geffen Hall was closed for renovation, he conducted the Orchestra at other New York City venues — including his first-ever Philharmonic appearances at Carnegie Hall — and in the residency at the Usedom Music Festival, where the New York Philharmonic was the first American orchestra to perform abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic inaugurated the new David Geffen Hall in October 2022 with HOME, a monthlong housewarming for the Orchestra and its audiences. Other 2022–23 season highlights include SPIRIT, a musical expression of the trials and triumphs of the human spirit featuring performances of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie and J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and EARTH, a response to the climate crisis that includes Julia Wolfe’s unEarth and John Luther Adams’s Become Desert. Over the course of David Geffen Hall’s inaugural season, he is conducting repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Bruckner to premieres by Marcos Balter, Etienne Charles, Caroline Shaw, and Carlos Simon, in addition to the works by Wolfe and Adams.

    Jaap van Zweden’s New York Philharmonic recordings include the World Premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state (2020), and Wolfe’s Grammy-nominated Fire in my mouth (2019), both released on the Decca Gold label. He conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic in first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, released on the Naxos label. His acclaimed performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal — the last of which earned him the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012 — are available on CD and DVD.

    Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden, at age 19, was appointed the youngest-ever concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career almost 20 years later, in 1996. In April 2023, van Zweden receives the Concertgebouw Prize, for exceptional contributions to that organization’s artistic profile. He remains Conductor Emeritus of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he was Chief Conductor (2005–13); he also served as Chief Conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra (2008–11), and as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2008–18). Under his leadership, the Hong Kong Philharmonic was named Gramophone’s Orchestra of the Year in 2019. He was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year and was the subject of an October 2018 CBS 60 Minutes profile on the occasion of his arrival at the New York Philharmonic.

    In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. The Foundation has grown into a multifaceted organization that focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. The Foundation provides in-home music therapy through a national network of qualified music therapists in the Netherlands; opened the Papageno House in 2015 (with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance) for young adults with autism to live, work, and participate in the community; created a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; develops funding opportunities to support autism programs; and, more recently, launched the app TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.

    Learn more about Jaap van Zweden
  • Frank Huang


    Frank Huang joined the New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair, in September 2015. The First Prize Winner of the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s Violin Competition and the 2000 Hannover International Violin Competition, he has established a major career as a violin virtuoso. Since performing with the Houston Symphony in a nationally broadcast concert at the age of 11 he has appeared with orchestras throughout the world including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Hannover, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Genoa Orchestra. He has also performed on NPR’s Performance Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CNN’s American Morning with Paula Zahn. He has performed at Wigmore Hall (in London), Salle Cortot (Paris), Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), and Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), as well as a second recital in Alice Tully Hall (New York), which featured the World Premiere of Donald Martino’s Sonata for Solo Violin. Following more than 25 additional solo appearances with the Orchestra, in May 2022 he performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

    Learn more about Frank Huang
  • Else Torp

    Soprano (Wolfe)

    Else Torp first specialized in Baroque and earlier music, but is now recognized also as an exponent of many kinds of new music. She has been featured with European symphony orchestras and instrumental ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta, Smith Quartet, and Kronos Quartet. Torp is a core member of Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices, with which she has performed around the world and at Carnegie Hall: the inauguration of Zankel Hall with Steve Reich, later with David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion and Stockhausen’s Stimmung. Over the past 15 years she has worked with and recorded numerous works by Arvo Pärt, including My Heart’s in the Highlands, featured on the soundtrack of Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (Sorrentino). Torp has performed live and recorded CDs, music videos, and films with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, appearing in the Grammy-nominated One More Time with Feeling; her recordings are streamed more than 30,000 times per month on Spotify alone. She collaborated closely with the Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson on music and film projects such as Arrival (Villeneuve) and Jóhannsson’s own swansong, Last and First Men, now touring as a live orchestra and film event.

    Learn more about Else Torp
  • The Men of The Crossing
        Donald Nally, director


    The Crossing is a Grammy Award–winning professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. It is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir that explore and expand ways of writing for, singing in, and listening to choirs. Many of its nearly 160 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues. The Crossing collaborates with some of the world’s most accomplished ensembles and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Beth Morrison Projects, Allora & Calzadilla, Bang on a Can, Klockriketeatern, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. The Crossing also often collaborates with some of world’s most prestigious venues and presenters, such as Park Avenue Armory, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, National Sawdust, Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Cleveland Museum of Art, Menil Collection in Houston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Haarlem Choral Biennale in The Netherlands, The Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Winter Garden with WNYC, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and University of Notre Dame.

    Learn more about The Men of The Crossing
        Donald Nally, director
  • Young People’s Chorus of New York City
        Francisco J. Núñez, director


    Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC) is a multicultural youth chorus internationally renowned for its superb virtuosity and brilliant showmanship. Founded by artistic director Francisco J. Núñez, YPC’s spectacular artistry has been showcased in award-winning performances around the world. With repertoire that spans Renaissance and Classical traditions through gospel, folk, jazz, pop, contemporary, and world music, YPC also continually invigorates its catalogue of music for young voices by commissioning pieces from many of the most distinguished and emerging composers of our time.

    Learn more about Young People’s Chorus of New York City
        Francisco J. Núñez, director
  • Anne Kauffman

    Director (Wolfe)

    Anne Kauffman is a new play director based in New York City. She has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and several regional theaters across the coutry. She directed the World Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth at the New York Philharmonic in 2019. Kauffman is a resident director at Roundabout Theater, artistic associate and founding member of The Civilians, a Clubbed Thumb associate artist and co-creator of the CT Directing Fellowship, a New Georges associate artist, and an SDC executive board member and trustee of SDCF. Kauffman’s honors include three Obie Awards, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, and the Joe A. Callaway. 

    Learn more about Anne Kauffman
  • Lucy MacKinnon

    Projection Designer (Wolfe)

    Lucy Mackinnon, who works in theater and live performance, received a Tony Award nomination for her work on Jagged Little Pill, and has received Ovation and IRNE Awards. Her Broadway design credits include Kimberly Akimbo, A Christmas Carol, How I Learned To Drive, Jagged Little Pill, The Rose Tattoo, Lifespan of a Fact, Six Degrees of Separation, and Deaf West Theatre’s revival of Spring Awakening. As a graphic artist, Mackinnon has contributed to exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. In 2020 she designed a series of large-scale projection installations for the Public Theater: Say Their Names, a memorial to more than 2,100 Black lives lost to police violence, and The Seed Project, a site-specific work featuring portraits of more than 150 Public Works community members. She teaches projection design at Brooklyn College, having previously taught at Ithaca College and Fordham University.

    Learn more about Lucy MacKinnon
  • Ben Stanton

    Lighting Designer (Wolfe)

    Ben Stanton is a Brooklyn-based lighting designer for theater, concerts, dance, installations, and events. He is a three-time Tony Award nominee as well as a recipient of Obie, Lortel, IRNE, and Ovation awards. His Broadway credits include The Collaboration (at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre), A Christmas Carol (starring Jefferson Mays), The Rose Tattoo (starring Marisa Tomei); Derren Brown: Secret (Cort Theater); Regina Spektor: Live on Broadway (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre), Junk (Lincoln Center), Six Degrees of Separation (starring Allison Janney, Corey Hawkins, and John Benjamin Hickey), Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Brooks Atkinson Theater), Fully Committed (starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and Fun Home (Off-Broadway, Broadway, the first National Tour, and in London). Stanton has designed concerts and tours for recording artists including Beirut, The National, Regina Spektor, Sufjan Stevens, and St. Vincent. He has collaborated on the visuals for several large-scale contemporary-music performances including Road Trip featuring Bang on a Can All-Stars (BAM Opera House and Los Angeles’s Ford Theater), Reconfiguration — An Evening with Other Lives (BAM Opera House), Planetarium (featuring Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens (BAM Opera House, Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Sydney Opera House), and Black Mountain Songs (featuring Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, at BAM Harvey Theater and London’s Barbican).  

    Learn more about Ben Stanton
  • Jody Elff

    Sound Designer (Wolfe)

    Jody Elff — a versatile, Grammy Award–winning audio engineer, sound artist, and designer — has mixed numerous televised concert events, including several MTV Video Music Awards, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s One Last Time at Radio City Music Hall, the South Park 25th Anniversary concert, Paul McCartney at MetLife Stadium, and Metallica’s All Within My Hands benefit. Elff’s recent recording work includes the Yo-Yo Ma–Silk Road Ensemble album Sing Me Home and Chris Thile’s Laysongs. He has provided sound design for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Festival, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. His fine-art sound works that have been presented at museums and galleries internationally include collaborations with David Lang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro on Musings on a Glass Box at Foundation Cartier in Paris and The Mile Long Opera. Elff has developed patented audio technologies for real-time mixing of high-channel-count live music events over distance.

    Learn more about Jody Elff
  • Kenny Savelson

    Project Manager (Wolfe)

    Kenny Savelson is the executive director of Bang on a Can — an award-winning contemporary-music collective based in New York City — as well as a musician and freelance performing arts producer. He has managed the creation, production, and touring of all of Bang on a Can’s programs since 1997. Under his administrative leadership, Bang on a Can has grown from an annual New York music festival into a multifaceted international organization engaged in activities including two annual festivals, two touring ensembles, and year-round programming. Savelson has produced hundreds of Bang on a Can concerts at venues throughout New York City, the US, and around the world. He has developed Bang on a Can All-Stars’ touring projects worldwide since 1998, as well as its acclaimed collaborations with composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe and with celebrated artists in the contemporary field such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, and Brian Eno. His previous collaborations with Wolfe have include the premieres of Fire in my mouth (in 2019, by the New York Philharmonic), Anthracite Fields (2014, in Philadelphia; recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music), Steel Hammer (2009, University of Florida’s Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts; New York Premiere at Carnegie Hall), Lost Objects (2001, Dresden Music Festival), and Carbon Copy Building (2000, Settembre Musica Torino). 

    Learn more about Kenny Savelson

Special Thanks

These performances of Julia Wolfe's unEarth are made possible with generous support from the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts.

These concerts are part of the Wu Tsai Series Inaugural Season.


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