A PRELUDE TO 50 YEARS
MEREDITH MONK ANTICIPATES HER 50th ANNIVERSARY,
A SPRING FILLED WITH MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS,
PERFORMANCES IN AND OUT OF NEW YORK, NEW
RECORDINGS, TALKS AND MORE
Five decades later and still blazing new trails, Meredith Monk began preparation for her Fiftieth Year celebration with the January 29 announcement of her appointment as the 2014/15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. Her spring calendar, a prelude to her 50th anniversary events, is crammed with New York, national and international performances, record and CD releases, workshops and residencies designed to showcase Monk’s groundbreaking work past and present.
THE DEBS COMPOSER’S CHAIR: The Debs Chair residency includes five concerts that take place in Carnegie Hall’s three venues and one at Carnegie’s partner, (Le) Poisson Rouge. Each celebrates the breadth of Monk’s music in a unique way. At Carnegie itself, Monk’s work will be featured within programs performed by the American Composers Orchestra on November 21, 2014, the Ensemble ACJW on February 16, and the Saint Louis Symphony on March 20, 2015. The five-performance celebration culminates with two all-Monk programs: the first, on March 22, entitled “Meredith Monk and Friends,” will be performed by musicians and vocalists from the jazz, new music, classical, and electronic/pop worlds, including Jessye Norman, John Zorn, DJ Spooky, Missy Mazzoli, Lukas Ligeti, Don Byron, Nadia Sarota, Theo Bleckmann, and Todd Reynolds. The May 2 concert, “Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble,” features the composer performing her works with over a dozen of her most dazzling musicians.
RECORD AND CD RELEASES: “Radio Songs,” a select compilation of three of Monk’s previously unreleased compositions from her 1976 classic, “Quarry,” will be available on a vinyl disc produced by White Columns on February 8th. The fourth song on the disc, “Gotham Blues,” was included in Ping Chong’s “Fear and Loathing in Gotham.” Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker perform Meredith Monk’s music on “Piano Songs,” a CD scheduled for release on the ECM label in May 2014.
IN NEW YORK CITY: On February 12, she will be interviewed by New Yorker writer and author Adam Gopnick as part of the newly created “Conversations with Chevaliers” series at the 92nd Street Y; the event is presented in collaboration with Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Recanati-Kaplan Foundation. Monk has recently been installed as an Officer of Order of the Arts and Letters by the French Government. Musica Sacra will perform three excerpts from Monk’s 1991 opera, “ATLAS,” as well “Hocket,” the ever-popular duet from her “Facing North” and “Nightfall, ” commissioned in 1995 by Musica Sacra. Taking place at Alice Tully Hall, the March 31 concert features Meredith Monk and Katie Geissinger. The Musica Sacra performance will be preceded by a conversation with Musica Sacra conductor Kent Tritle and composer Jocelyn Hagen at The Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on March 26.
US PERFORMANCES AND BEYOND: Monk will be heard in a solo concert at the Cleveland Institute of Music on February 21, followed by Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble’s performance of her most recent masterpiece, “On Behalf of Nature,” at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign on March 6. She will perform with Katie Geissinger at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on April 11, in conjunction with Helen Pashgian’s exhibition “Light Invisible.” The LACMA concert is followed by a solo performance by Monk at the 356 Mission Gallery in Los Angeles on April 13. On May 15, Monk performs with Geissinger as part of the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Quebec. Monk and Geissinger travel to France for a series of performances with the French choir Mikrokosmos comprised of 12 young professional singers with whom Monk worked last in her loft in New York City. The tour includes dates In Chateauroux (May 23); Orléans (May 27); Tours (May 29) and Abbaye de Noirlac (June 1).
Please stay tuned for the May announcement of Monk’s 50th anniversary plans.
MEREDITH MONK is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance,” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. 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 there are no words. Over the last five decades, she has been hailed as “a magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers”. Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented by BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Among her many accolades, she was recently named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France, and the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America. Monk is also one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices, and has received a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award and a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.
In 1968 Ms. Monk founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance. In 1978 she founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical textures and forms. As a pioneer in site-specific performance, she has created such works as Juice: A Theatre Cantata In 3 Installments (1969) and Ascension Variations (2009) for the Guggenheim Museum, and American Archeology #1: Roosevelt Island (1994). Monk’s award-winning films, including Ellis Island (1981) and her first feature, Book of Days (1988), have been seen throughout the world. Her music can also be heard in films by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers. In addition to her numerous vocal pieces, music-theater works and operas, Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale, among others.
Since graduating Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, Monk has received numerous honors including the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, three “Obies” (including an award for Sustained Achievement), and two “Bessie” awards for Sustained Creative Achievement. 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. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and the highly acclaimed Songs of Ascension. She has also been working with the publisher Boosey & Hawkes since 2001.
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. Her 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated in 2005 by a four-hour marathon at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, with additional performances throughout New York City. In February 2012 she was honored with a remix and interpretations cd, MONK MIX, featuring 25 artists from the jazz, pop, dj and new music worlds. In March 2012, she premiered Realm Variations for six voices and small ensemble, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, and performed in John Cage’s Song Books as part of the Symphony’s American Mavericks Festival. Monk’s newest music-theater piece, On Behalf of Nature, premiered in January 2013 at UCLA and is currently touring internationally. This fall, Meredith Monk will mark her 50th season as a creator and performer. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of her generation, she has been appointed the 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. www.meredithmonk.org
photo credit : Julieta Cervantes , Carnegie Hall Photo: google images