The experimental composer, singer, choreographer and filmmaker details a life of radical practice, rooted in folk and classical traditions.
Composer, singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker – Meredith Monk’s extraordinary work over the past half century, within sound, multimedia art and dance, makes her one of America’s greatest living experimental artists. Born and raised in New York City, Monk formed her interdisciplinary performance group The House in the late ’60s, and Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble was created in the late ’70s; the latter explored radical vocalizations and nonverbal sonic textures. She has written for instrumental ensembles and symphony orchestras, and was a composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall, among myriad other academic and creative accolades. Monk’s work – with its use of repetition, drones, and modal harmonies, and its focus on wordless vocals – is oft-regarded as a folk style within American modernist minimalism. Yet it feels far more otherworldly and timeless than that, like an ethereal celebration of sound and the body. In her Fireside Chat, the celebrated artist discusses her life in music, from early encouragement and pursuing an artistic life to the ephemeral nature and healing power of sound.