Meredith Monk is a composer, singer and creator of new opera and music-theater works. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique,” she has been hailed as a “magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” Recently Ms. Monk was named recipient of the 2013 Founders Award from New Music USA, the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America, a 2012 Doris Duke Artist and one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices.
In 1965, Ms. Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing mostly solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice and keyboard. In 1978, she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. In addition to numerous vocal, music-theater works and operas, Ms. Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, the Kronos Quartet, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Her music can also be heard in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Celebrated internationally, Ms. Monk’s work has been presented by the 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, an American Music Center Letter of Distinction, an ASCAP Concert Music Award, a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also 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. Ms. 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 Songs of Ascension, named the No. 1 new music release of 2011 by WNYC/New Sounds host John Schaefer.
Ms. Monk’s 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated in 2005 by a four-hour marathon at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall that included performances by Björk, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, DJ Spooky, John Zorn and Alarm Will Sound. In March 2012, she premiered Realm Variations for six voices and small ensemble, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony. Her new music-theater work, On Behalf of Nature, premiered in January at UCLA and will tour to the University of Maryland and Edinburgh International Festival later this year.