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Composed: 2019

Length: c. 35 minutes

Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, percussion (2 ride cymbals, 2 medium cymbals, 2 ratty cymbals, 2 vibraphones, glockenspiel, 2 flexatones, bass drum, crotales, tam-tam, 2 tambourines), harp, strings, and solo ensemble (clarinet/bass clarinet, electric guitar/ acoustic guitar, electric organ/piano, drum set/vibraphone, medium cymbal, cello, bass)

First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: January 18, 2020 (world premiere, LA Phil commmission), John Adams conducting

About this Piece

Flower Power is about optimism, idealism, psychedelia, breaking with convention, and a little bit of love and peace. My recent large-scale works have addressed important moments in American history. The same is true for Flower Power, though it has no text. As a post-’60s child, I experienced the afterglow of the 1960s revolution. And the after-ring was still resounding in the late 1970s. There was a sense that a better world was possible.

In the strange moment we are in now, “when all the world is a hopeless jumble,” I think about that remarkable turning point in American history, and in American music – a time of new ideas, and hope. Flower Power draws on my memory of that political and artistic time period, harnessing the energy and power of liberation and activism. The new work features the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the house band of the collective that I helped to create 30-some years ago. I developed my artistic voice with this band, finding a new way of expression, and a new freedom. As I bring this aesthetic to the orchestra world and team up with the amazing Los Angeles Philharmonic, the fusion offers expansive possibilities.

— Julia Wolfe