Luna Pearl Woolf
“A brilliant, wrenching chamber work…flings us headfirst body and soul into the centre of towering virtuosity and pain that was and always will be du Pré…Jacqueline is a profoundly moving opera, one that shreds the emotions.” – Opera Going Toronto
Canadian-American composer Luna Pearl Woolf has long used her creative voice to advocate for social and political change. Particularly renowned in the field of opera, her music, praised by The New York Times for its “psychological nuances and emotional depth,” is characterized by its dramatic intention, with a penetrating focus on music’s capacity as a storytelling language.
The 2021 GRAMMY-nominated composer-portrait album, LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood, spans several decades of the composer’s work and grapples with such pressing issues as climate change, poverty, zealotry, racism, gender roles and plague, through music that is as is intensely emotional as it is lyrical and complex. The album, released on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series, features The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOVUS NY and conductor Julian Wachner, with soloists cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, and Broadway actor Nancy Anderson.
Tapestry Opera premiered Woolf’s Jacqueline, about legendary cellist Jacqueline du Pré, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek, in February 2020. The production garnered five nominations and a win in Toronto’s prestigious Dora Awards. Better Gods, about Hawaii’s Queen Lili‘uokalani, was premiered by Washington National Opera. The Pillar was awarded one of Opera America’s inaugural Discovery Grants for female composers. Current projects include The Limit of the Sun with librettist Andrea Stolowitz and City On Fire with librettist David Van Taylor.
Among Woolf’s most widely-performed works are Après moi, le déluge, written in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and Angel Heart, narrated by Jeremy Irons, recently released worldwide, alongside a new German-language edition with author Cornelia Funke narrating. Other noted collaborators include Dame Evelyn Glennie, Joyce DiDonato, the Brentano String Quartet, Dennis Russell Davies, and the Bruckner Orchestra, among many others.
Woolf founded the ground-breaking Oxingale Records with Haimovitz in 2000. Her music can be heard internationally on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series.
LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood [PENTATONE Oxingale Series] has been nominated for Best Classical Compendium in the 63rd GRAMMY Awards.
Better Gods for six voices and chamber orchestra (2015)
WNO: American Opera Initiative
Après moi, le déluge concerto for cello and SATB choir
The Pillar an opera in two acts
Jacqueline an opera
Angel Heart a music storybook
Narrator: Jeremy Irons
Matt Haimovitz and Uccello
Lisa Delan, soprano
Frederica von Stade and Zheng Cao, mezzo-sopranos
Daniel Taylor, countertenor
Sanford Sylvan, baritone
Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, mandolins
The Children’s Choir of St. Martin de Porres School, West Oakland, CA
Works Available for Purchase
75th Fanfare (2008)for full orchestraStudy Score
After the Wave (2005)for full orchestraStudy Score
Better Gods (2016)Six voices and chamber orchestraPiano/Vocal Score
But I Digress… (2018)For string ensemble and percussion quartetStudy Score
How Bright the Darkness (2014)For Baritone, Treble Choir, Harp, Percussion, and String OrchestraPiano/Vocal Score
Max’s Moon (2007/2009)for cello and string orchestraStudy Score
One to One to One (2016)For 3 Female Voices, 3 Cellos, 3 BassesStudy Score
Orpheus on Sappho’s Shore (2003)For Soprano, Tenor, and Chamber OrchestraStudy Score
Où allons nous? (2008)Concerto for violin and chamber orchestraStudy Score
Rumi: Quatrains of Love (2012)for soprano or mezzo-soprano, cello and pianoScore and Parts
Still Life Suite (1996)for orchestraStudy Score
Suspense (2013)for 4 percussion and 8 cellosStudy Score
The Pillar (Excerpts) (2014)Excerpts for Solo Voices, Chorus and Chamber EnsemblePiano/Vocal Score