Discipline: Music Composition

Meredith Monk

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1987, 1988, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2007

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”(The New York Times) and “one of America’s coolest composers” (Time Out New York).

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. She 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 doctorate of arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Boston Conservatory. In addition she has been named 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.

Monk’s newest music-theater piece, On Behalf of Nature, premiered in January 2013 at UCLA and is currently touring internationally. The 2014–2015 season marks her 50th as a creator and performer, during which she has been appointed the 2014–2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, where she will present a number of concerts and performances.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes



Meredith Monk worked in the Watson studio.

Built in 1916 in memory of Regina Watson of Chicago, a musician and teacher, this studio was donated by a group of her friends, along with funds for its maintenance. Originally designed to serve as a composers’ studio with room for performance, Watson was used as a recital hall for chamber music for a…

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