Meredith Monk’s “Education of the Girlchild Revisited”
At 3-Legged Dog, June 7-11
Meredith Monk’s “Education of the Girlchild Revisited,” which features the iconic solo from “Education of the Girlchild,” one of Monk’s most startling early works, one that foretold her groundbreaking career and became a major influence on a generation of new theater directors and composers, will be performed at 3-Legged Dog, June 7-11.
Over the course of this transformative 1972 piece, the solo section from “Education of the Girlchild,” Monk travels a life cycle of aging in reverse, mutating from a stooped back, old woman to a radiant young girl as she seamlessly and poetically connects life, death, youth, and age through her glorious singing and movement.
The “Education of the Girlchild Revisited” program also includes “Shards,” a new weaving of music, images and movement composed during the “Girlchild” era (between 1969 and 1973). Monk modified and recombined the pieces, which include selections from “Key: an album of invisible theater” (1970); “Vessel: an opera epic” (1971) and “Education of the Girlchild” so that the sounds are given new, redefined life and meaning. The performers will be Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Meredith Monk, and Allison Sniffin.
The evening is a Dance Theater Workshop production. All performances are at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 and $20 for seniors and students. They are available online at dancetheateworkshop.org, over the phone at 212-924-0077 or in person at both the DTW and 3-Legged Dog box offices. 3-Legged Dog is located at 80 Greenwich Street (1 or R train to Rector Street Station or 4, 5 to Wall Street Station). Dance Theater Workshop is located at 219 West 19th Street.
A pioneer in extended vocal technique, internationally acclaimed MacArthur “Genius” Meredith Monk has alternately been hailed as a “magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” Her wordless music embodies an alchemical mixture of technical virtuosity, poignant directness, interpretive suppleness and visceral excitement. All of Meredith Monk’s wide-ranging art is grounded in her profound understanding of the voice’s flexibility and expressive depth. The range and unique character of Monk’s vocal vocabulary is breathtaking —ranging from birdlike microtones, to robust yodels, to insectoid whispers and dusky chants. She writes that the voice is her “soul’s messenger” and has “the power to uncover subtle shades of feeling that exist between what we think of as emotions.”
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, choreographer, filmmaker, and creator of new opera and music theater works. During a career spanning five decades, she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts. In 1965, she began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted 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 vocal music is an eloquent language in and of itself, which expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words. In addition to her groundbreaking vocal and music theater pieces (which include Book of Days, Dolmen Music, mercy, impermanence, and ATLAS), she has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments. Her music has also appeared in motion pictures by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Celebrated internationally, her music has been presented by Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria.
Meredith Monk’s numerous honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. With a discography featuring more than a dozen recordings, mostly on ECM, her CD impermanence was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award. In 2005 her 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated by a four-hour marathon at 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 Museum, featuring over 120 performers. Her new music theater work, Songs of Ascension, premiered at Stanford University in 2008 and won the 2010 Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival. In March 2010, her newest commission, WEAVE for Two Voices, Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, had its world premiere with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, followed by an April 2010 West Coast premiere with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall. In June 2010, Monk premiered Education of the Girlchild Revisited in Paris. In January 2011 she was named one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices and recently received a Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono Lennon.