Cellular Songs receives its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March. This is the latest in a series of works by Monk that draws inspiration from the natural sciences.
Meredith Monk’s latest music theater piece Cellular Songs receives its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAM Harvey Theater on March 14, with additional performances through March 18. BAM has been an ardent and longtime champion of Monk’s, having presented major artistic projects, including her mixed-media theater piece Quarry in 1976, her opera Atlas in 1992, and more recently Songs of Ascension in 2009 and On Behalf of Nature in 2014.
Cellular Songs pairs voice with movement, instrumentation, and a site-specific video installation to investigate the interconnected relationship between humans and the natural world. The piece draws inspiration from human cell activity such as layering, replication, rotation, division, and mutation, and also explores the larger picture codependence of the human condition with the nature surrounding it.
Notably, the work features an all-female group of performers: Monk and the four women of her acclaimed Vocal Ensemble (Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Allison Sniffin, and Jo Stewart).
Cellular Songs was developed during residencies at Jim Hodges’ Queenslab (June 2017), Wesleyan University (November 2017), and most recently at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut (January 2018). At the end of each residency, Monk presented a work-in-progress performance to the public. The presentation at BAM will be the official world premiere of the work after two years of development.
Watch an excerpt from Cellular Songs, performed by Meredith Monk, Katie Geissinger, Allison Sniffin:
Photo: Jessie Froman
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