This 2014 compilation of conversations with composer Meredith Monk on her music and artistry has been updated to include discussions of vital new works including Cellular Songs and Indra’s Net, as well as the recent revival of ATLAS by the LA Phil.
Conversations with Meredith Monk – Expanded Edition
Performing Arts Journal Publications
Published on December 20, 2020
This expanded edition of Conversations with Meredith Monk offers a fascinating portrait of the internationally renowned composer, performer, director, and filmmaker, from her early years to the present. The volume, first published in 2014, now includes an eight-page color insert and has been updated to feature discussions of Monk’s latest music-theatre work, Cellular Songs, and a work-in-progress, Indra’s Net, in addition to the recent revival of ATLAS: an opera in three parts at the Los Angeles Philharmonic—a work that The New York Times called “her masterpiece and one of the defining operatic experiments of the 20th century”—and the showing of the remastered film of Monk’s great work Quarry.
The five long conversations that comprise the volume, the latest in PAJ’s “Performance Ideas” series, generate invaluable insights into artistic process, the human voice, interrelationships of time, space, and music, and the complexity of artistic legacies. Monk dives into questions of performance such as: What is a “contemporary” work? and How does an artwork retain its integrity of form over time?
In these deeply engaging conversations, Monk speaks in great detail on her creation of music-theatre works, operas, and films, reflecting on the large-cast theatrical works and the more recent poetically distilled, abstract pieces. In her preface to the new edition, “Performance as a Life Science,” Bonnie Marranca writes: “Now, against the background of life in extremis, it is evident that Monk had already acknowledged both the always unknown future and the resilience of human beings. For decades her body of work has been rooting itself in the recurrent themes of spiritual quest (Songs of Ascension), healing (The Politics of Quiet), compassion (mercy), plague (Book of Days), fragility of life (impermanence), cultural identity (Ellis Island), historical trauma (Quarry), ecology (On Behalf of Nature), and community (Cellular Songs).”
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