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Meredith Monk

 b.22 November 1942, New York CityPhoto credit: Jessie Froman

Biographie


English    


Short Biography:
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music theater works.  A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique,” Monk has been hailed as “a magician of the voice,” and “one of America’s coolest composers.”  During a career that spans more than 40 years, she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts. 

Monk was named Musical America's 2012 "Composer of the Year", and has received numerous awards including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition, the 2005 ASCAP Concert Music Award, the Demetrio Stratos Award in 2007, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.  In 1965, Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multi-faceted instrument and subsequently composed and performed many solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice/keyboard. In 1978 she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. She has since been commissioned to write for Michael Tilson Thomas’s New World Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony, and for the Kronos Quartet, among others. In 2000, the Lincoln Center Festival celebrated her music with a three-concert retrospective titled Voice Travel, and in 2004 a 4.5-hour marathon was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. Another marathon, Meredith Monk Music @ The Whitney, was presented at the Whitney Museum in 2009, followed by the site-specific Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim. Her most recent work, Realm Variations, was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 2012 and performed as part of the American Mavericks tour in Ann Arbor and New York's Carnegie Hall. Several of Monk’s scores, including her Piano Album, are available through her publisher, Boosey & Hawkes. Monk’s impermanence was released on the ECM label in March 2008 and nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award. Her music theater work, Songs of Ascension, premiered in October 2008 and was performed at BAM’s Next Wave Festival in October 2009. Called “a radiant new work” by Anne Midgette of the Washington Post, a recording of the piece was released in 2011 to much critical acclaim.

— August 2012

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Long Biography:
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music theater works. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance,” Monk has been hailed as a “magician of the voice,” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which we have no words. During a career that spans more than 40 years, she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts.

Monk was name Musical America's 2012 "Composer of the Year", and has received numerous additional awards, including the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1995, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, three “Obies” (including an award for Sustained Achievement), two Villager Awards, two “Bessie” Awards for Sustained Creative Achievement, the 1986 National Music Theatre Award, sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition and the 2005 ASCAP Concert Music Award. In 2006 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named a United States Artists Fellow. In 2007 she received the Demetrio Stratos International Award for musical experimentation, and in 2008, the premio Arlecchino d'Oro from the Mantova Festival in Italy. She holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute and the Boston Conservatory. Her recordings Dolmen Music (ECM New Series) and Our Lady of Late: The Vanguard Tapes (Wergo) were honored with the German Critics Prize for Best Records of 1981 and 1986. Her music has also been heard in numerous films, including La Nouvelle Vague by Jean-Luc Godard and The Big Lebowski by Joel and Ethan Coen. In 2000, Monk began a publishing relationship with Boosey & Hawkes. Several of her scores, including her recently released Piano Album, are now available to the general public.

In 1965 Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multi-faceted instrument and subsequently composed and performed many solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice/keyboard. In 1978 she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. Her music has been performed by numerous soloists and groups including The Chorus of the San Francisco Symphony, Kitka, Musica Sacra, The Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Double Edge, and Bang on a Can All-Stars, among others.

In October 1999 Monk performed a Vocal Offering for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, as part of the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. In July 2000 her music was honored by a three concert retrospective entitled Voice Travel as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Monk’s first orchestra piece, Possible Sky, was commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas for the New World Symphony and premiered in April 2003 in Miami and was performed by the Hamburg Symphony in 2006. Stringsongs, her first composition for string quartet (commissioned by the Kronos Quartet), had its world premiere at the Barbican Centre in London in January 2005. In November 2005, Monk's 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated by a 4.5-hour marathon at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with performances by Björk; Bang on a Can All-Stars; DJ Spooky; John Zorn; the Pacific Mozart Ensemble; Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker; and The Roches, among others. Another marathon, Meredith Monk Music @ The Whitney, was presented at the Whitney Museum in 2009, followed by the site-specific Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim. Monk’s impermanence, was released on the ECM label in March 2008 and nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award. Weave for two voices, chamber orchestra, and chorus, was premiered with the St. Louis Symphony in March of 2010. Her most recent work, Realm Variations, was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 2012 and performed as part of the American Mavericks tour in Ann Arbor and New York's Carnegie Hall. Her album Songs of Ascension was released in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Anne Midgette of the Washington Post called it “a radiant new work.”

— August 2012

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

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