Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk


Collaboration with Fromm Foundation Visiting Lecturer on Music at Harvard University.

During the residency at the ArtLab, Meredith Monk will develop Indra’s Net. This new evening-length performance will premier in 2021 and will be her most ambitious exploration of the interplay of music, movement, architecture and space to date. The ArtLab will host an open rehearsal of Indra's Net in mid-April, 2020. 

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique.” 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 six decades, Ms. Monk has been hailed as one of National Public Radio’s 50 Great Voices and “one of America’s coolest composers.” Her numerous awards include a MacArthur Fellowship award and an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. She received three of the highest honors bestowed on a living artist in the United States: induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2019), the 2017 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

In 1965, Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and for voice and keyboard. In 1978, she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. The majority of her work can be heard on the ECM label, including the Grammy-nominated impermanence and highly regarded recent release, On Behalf of Nature. Her music has also been featured in films by Terrence Malick, Jean-Luc Godard, David Byrne and the Coen Brothers. Since the early 2000s, Monk has been creating vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with recent commissions from the San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall where she held the 2014-15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair in conjunction with her 50th season of creating and performing.

Monk is a pioneer of site-specific work. With Juice, in 1969, she was the first artist to create a work for the Guggenheim rotunda. A new production of Monk’s opera ATLAS: an opera in three parts (1991), directed by Yuval Sharon, was presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in June 2019. Monk’s newest music-theater piece, Cellular Songs, premiered in March 2018 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Harvey Theater to sold-out audiences, and will tour internationally through 2021.

Monk received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Monk received four early FCA grants, including in 1969 for the aforementioned Juice, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 1983 she was awarded an additional FCA grant, and in 1990 received support for the film Book of Days. In 1991, FCA supported the previously mentioned Atlas: an opera in three parts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 2020, she was awarded the John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Monk's ArtLab residency has been organized in collaboration with the Harvard Department of Music at Harvard University and the Spring 2020 Fromm Foundation Visiting Lecturer on Music at Harvard University.

Image: Juliettta Cervantes