Meredith Monk (b. 1942)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
Codifying Meredith Monk2016110420190809 (R3)

Meredith Monk talks about the challenges of allowing her music to be written down and published. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

Meredith Monk’s music is unique. A distinctive sound world often using extended vocal techniques from sighs to whoops. Her music is not easy to write down, but in 2000 Monk allowed some of her works to be published. She discusses with Donald Macleod how this is not an easy process, and in one particular work of hers which lasts a couple of minutes only, it took two nearly years to write it down. Another area Monk has been exploring since 2003, is composing more instrumental music starting with an orchestral commission from Michael Tilson Thomas. In more recent years she has received honorary doctorates, been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, named Composer of the Year by Musical America, and in 2015 she was honoured with the award of the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama. Yet for all her success, she says that composing music is still as difficult as it ever was.

Mercy (Shaking)
Theo Bleckmann, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Allison Sniffin, piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Gotham Lullaby
Bjork, voice

Meredith Monk Arr. Don Byron
Click Song #1
Don Byron, performer

Impermanence (Particular Dance)
Meredith Monk, voice
Theo Bleckmann, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ellen Fisher, voice
Silvie Jensen, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Sasha Bogdanowitsch, voice
Allison Sniffin, piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion
Bohdan Hilash, double ocarina, Balinese flute, zaphoon, punji

Impermanence (Between Song)
Meredith Monk, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice and piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion
Bohdan Hilash, clarinet

Songs of Ascension (Shift)
Todd Reynolds, violin
Courtney Orlando, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Songs of Ascension (Vow)
Katie Geissinger, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello

Songs of Ascension (Burn)
Ellen Fisher, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Bruce Rameker, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice
Sasha Bogdanowitsch, voice
Sidney Chen, voice
Emily Eagen, voice
Holly Nadal, voice
Toby Newman, voice
Peter Sciscioli, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Courtney Orlando, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello
Allison Sniffin, violin
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Songs of Ascension (Strand: Inner psalm)
Meredith Monk, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ellen Fisher, voice
Bruce Rameker, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
John Hollenbeck, voice
Courtney Orlando, voice
Holly Nadal, voice
Nadia Sirota, voice
Ha-Yang Kim, voice
Peter Sciscioli, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet

Light Songs (Click Song #2)
Meredith Monk, voice

On Behalf Of Nature (Water/Sky Rant)
Meredith Monk, voice
Bohdan Hilash, Eb clarinet, Macauan bird calls, Burmese whistles, seljefløyte
John Hollenbeck, prepared vibraphone, cuica
Allison Sniffin, keyboard, French horn, voice
Laura Sherman, harp

Producer Luke Whitlock

Meredith Monk talks about the challenges of allowing her music to be published.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Music at play2016110320190808 (R3)

Meredith Monk discusses humour in her music - and coyotes! Presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

In 1978 Meredith Monk founded her own ensemble to perform her music. This group she feels are a part of her own body, and that the singers’ bodies are an integral part of the expression of her music. One long serving member is the cellist and singer Robert Een. They collaborated together on Facing North in 1990, which includes the sounds of coyotes, demonstrating Monk’s interest in humour and playfulness. Monk also discusses her thoughts on other choirs and ensembles performing her music.

Folkdance
Ursula Oppens, piano
Bruce Brubaker, piano

Facing North (Arctic Bar)
Meredith Monk, voice & piano & organ
Robert Een, voice

Facing North (Hocket)
Meredith Monk, voice
Robert Een, voice

Atlas (Part II: Lonely Spirit)
Randall Wong (Lonely Spirit), voice
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Atlas (Part II: Forest Questions)
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Robert Een (Erik Magnussen), voice
Dana Hanchard (Gwen St. Clair), voice
Stephen Kalm (Franco Hartmann), voice
Shi-Zheng Chen (Cheng Qing), voice
Emily Eyre (Forest Dweller), voice
Janice Brenner (Forest Dweller), voice
Katie Geissinger (Forest Dweller), voice
Randall Wong (Forest Dweller), voice
Carlos Arévalo (Forest Dweller), voice
Robert Osborne (Ancient Man), voice

Allison Easter (guide) voice
Ching Gonzalez (guide), voice
Katie Geissinger (traveller), voice
Victoria Boomsma (traveller), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Nightfall
Musica Sacra
Richard Westenburg, conductor

Volcano Songs (Offering)
Meredith Monk, voice

St Petersburg Waltz
Nurit Tilles, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock

Meredith Monk discusses humour in her music - and coyotes! Presented by Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Singing beneath a dolmen2016110120190807 (R3)

Meredith Monk sits and sings beneath a dolmen in France, presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

In 1965, Meredith Monk had a revelation regarding the capabilities of the human voice, and created her own unique vocal technique. From the start, Monk was interested in primordial utterance, the first sounds humans made. It was on a trip to France where she had the opportunity to visit a megalithic Dolmen. Sat beneath this stone table structure, singing with friends, Monk was inspired to compose Dolmen Music. During the 1970s she was also busy creating large-scale site-specific works, including her opera epic Vessel. Quarry, another opera, she composed in 1976. Monk has said that in her whole lifetime, she felt most on fire when composing this work.

Gotham Lullaby
Meredith Monk, voice and piano

Vessel (Little Epiphany/Sybil Song)
Meredith Monk, voice and piano

Paris
Ursula Oppens, piano

Our Lady of Late (Unison)
Meredith Monk, voice and glass
Colin Walcott, glass

Gotham Lullaby
Meredith Monk, voice and piano

Quarry (Quarry Weave 2)
Musica Sacra
Richard Westenburg, condcutor

Dolmen Music
Andrea Goodman, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Monica Solem, voice
Paul Langland, voice
Julius Eastman, voice and percussion
Robert Een, voice and cello

Producer Luke Whitlock

Monk visits a dolmen in France.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The magician of the voice2016103120190806 (R3)

American composer Meredith Monk finds her unique voice, presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

Music and singing is in Meredith Monk’s DNA. Her mother sang operetta, popular songs, and jingles for commercials. Her grandfather was an operatic bass who set up a conservatory in Harlem, and her great-grandfather was a cantor in a Moscow synagogue, and was invited to sing for the Tsar of Russia. In conversation with Donald Macleod Meredith Monk discusses her early influences from family, school and college, and how her career went on to develop in New York at a time, 1965, when she had a revelation about the possibilities of the human voice.

Book of Days (Fields/Clouds)
Johanna Arnold, voice
Joan Barber, voice
Andrea Goodman, voice
Naaz Hosseini voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Robert Een, voice
John Eppler, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Wayne Hankin, voice
Nicky Paraiso, voice
Timothy Sawyer, voice
Nurit Tilles, keyboard

Book of Days (Jewish Storyteller/Dance/Dream)
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Nicky Paraiso, voice
Timothy Sawyer, voice
Robert Een, voice
John Eppler, voice
Joan Barber, voice
Andrea Goodman, voice
Naaz Hosseini voice
Johanna Arnold, voice
Meredith Monk, voice

Parlour Games
Ursula Oppens, piano
Bruce Brubaker, piano

Arr. Meredith Monk
Greensleeves
Meredith Monk, guitar and voice

Nota
Meredith Monk, guitar and voice

Candy Bullets and Moon
Meredith Monk, bass and voice
Don Preston, drums and organ

Porch
Meredith Monk, voice

Epic I
Meredith Monk, voice and organ

Atlas (Part I: Airport)
Wilbur Pauley (Airport attendant), voice
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Shi-Zheng Chen (Cheng Qing), voice
Robert Een (Erik Magnussen), voice
Allison Easter (guide) voice
Ching Gonzalez (guide), voice
Katie Geissinger (traveller), voice
Victoria Boomsma (traveller), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock

Meredith Monk finds her unique voice.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201901The Magician Of The Voice2016103120190806 (R3)

American composer Meredith Monk finds her unique voice, presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

Music and singing is in Meredith Monk’s DNA. Her mother sang operetta, popular songs, and jingles for commercials. Her grandfather was an operatic bass who set up a conservatory in Harlem, and her great-grandfather was a cantor in a Moscow synagogue, and was invited to sing for the Tsar of Russia. In conversation with Donald Macleod Meredith Monk discusses her early influences from family, school and college, and how her career went on to develop in New York at a time, 1965, when she had a revelation about the possibilities of the human voice.

Book of Days (Fields/Clouds)
Johanna Arnold, voice
Joan Barber, voice
Andrea Goodman, voice
Naaz Hosseini voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Robert Een, voice
John Eppler, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Wayne Hankin, voice
Nicky Paraiso, voice
Timothy Sawyer, voice
Nurit Tilles, keyboard

Book of Days (Jewish Storyteller/Dance/Dream)
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Nicky Paraiso, voice
Timothy Sawyer, voice
Robert Een, voice
John Eppler, voice
Joan Barber, voice
Andrea Goodman, voice
Naaz Hosseini voice
Johanna Arnold, voice
Meredith Monk, voice

Parlour Games
Ursula Oppens, piano
Bruce Brubaker, piano

Arr. Meredith Monk
Greensleeves
Meredith Monk, guitar and voice

Nota
Meredith Monk, guitar and voice

Candy Bullets and Moon
Meredith Monk, bass and voice
Don Preston, drums and organ

Porch
Meredith Monk, voice

Epic I
Meredith Monk, voice and organ

Atlas (Part I: Airport)
Wilbur Pauley (Airport attendant), voice
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Shi-Zheng Chen (Cheng Qing), voice
Robert Een (Erik Magnussen), voice
Allison Easter (guide) voice
Ching Gonzalez (guide), voice
Katie Geissinger (traveller), voice
Victoria Boomsma (traveller), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock

Meredith Monk finds her unique voice.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201902Singing Beneath A Dolmen2016110120190807 (R3)

Meredith Monk sits and sings beneath a dolmen in France, presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

In 1965, Meredith Monk had a revelation regarding the capabilities of the human voice, and created her own unique vocal technique. From the start, Monk was interested in primordial utterance, the first sounds humans made. It was on a trip to France where she had the opportunity to visit a megalithic Dolmen. Sat beneath this stone table structure, singing with friends, Monk was inspired to compose Dolmen Music. During the 1970s she was also busy creating large-scale site-specific works, including her opera epic Vessel. Quarry, another opera, she composed in 1976. Monk has said that in her whole lifetime, she felt most on fire when composing this work.

Gotham Lullaby
Meredith Monk, voice and piano

Vessel (Little Epiphany/Sybil Song)
Meredith Monk, voice and piano

Paris
Ursula Oppens, piano

Our Lady of Late (Unison)
Meredith Monk, voice and glass
Colin Walcott, glass

Quarry (Quarry Weave 2)
Musica Sacra
Richard Westenburg, condcutor

Dolmen Music
Andrea Goodman, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Monica Solem, voice
Paul Langland, voice
Julius Eastman, voice and percussion
Robert Een, voice and cello

Producer Luke Whitlock

Monk visits a dolmen in France.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201903Music At Play2016110320190808 (R3)

Meredith Monk discusses humour in her music - and coyotes! Presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

In 1978 Meredith Monk founded her own ensemble to perform her music. This group she feels are a part of her own body, and that the singers’ bodies are an integral part of the expression of her music. One long serving member is the cellist and singer Robert Een. They collaborated together on Facing North in 1990, which includes the sounds of coyotes, demonstrating Monk’s interest in humour and playfulness. Monk also discusses her thoughts on other choirs and ensembles performing her music.

Folkdance
Ursula Oppens, piano
Bruce Brubaker, piano

Facing North (Arctic Bar)
Meredith Monk, voice & piano & organ
Robert Een, voice

Facing North (Hocket)
Meredith Monk, voice
Robert Een, voice

Atlas (Part II: Lonely Spirit)
Randall Wong (Lonely Spirit), voice
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Atlas (Part II: Forest Questions)
Meredith Monk (Alexandra), voice
Robert Een (Erik Magnussen), voice
Dana Hanchard (Gwen St. Clair), voice
Stephen Kalm (Franco Hartmann), voice
Shi-Zheng Chen (Cheng Qing), voice
Emily Eyre (Forest Dweller), voice
Janice Brenner (Forest Dweller), voice
Katie Geissinger (Forest Dweller), voice
Randall Wong (Forest Dweller), voice
Carlos Arévalo (Forest Dweller), voice
Robert Osborne (Ancient Man), voice

Allison Easter (guide) voice
Ching Gonzalez (guide), voice
Katie Geissinger (traveller), voice
Victoria Boomsma (traveller), voice
Opera Orchestra
Wayne Hankin, conductor

Nightfall
Musica Sacra
Richard Westenburg, conductor

Volcano Songs (Offering)
Meredith Monk, voice

St Petersburg Waltz
Nurit Tilles, piano

Producer Luke Whitlock

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201904 LASTCodifying Meredith Monk2016110420190809 (R3)

Meredith Monk talks about the challenges of allowing her music to be written down and published. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Meredith Monk has been described as one of America’s coolest composers. She is also a singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Monk's singular voice has been the central component in the work she has created over a trajectory spanning more than fifty years. As a pioneer in extended vocal technique and a composer of vocal and instrumental music, she has developed distinct sound worlds that have been described as "a beguiling repertoire of aviary microtones, robust yodels, and dusky, low-range chanting" and also as "a peerless mixture of otherworldly and human". Her music is identifiable as distinctly Meredith Monk, and has historically provoked strong reactions from audiences and critics alike. Now in her seventies Monk still tours performing her own works, and it was in Cologne where Donald Macleod caught up with her for Composer of the Week, to discuss her remarkable life and unique music.

Meredith Monk’s music is unique. A distinctive sound world often using extended vocal techniques from sighs to whoops. Her music is not easy to write down, but in 2000 Monk allowed some of her works to be published. She discusses with Donald Macleod how this is not an easy process, and in one particular work of hers which lasts a couple of minutes only, it took two nearly years to write it down. Another area Monk has been exploring since 2003, is composing more instrumental music starting with an orchestral commission from Michael Tilson Thomas. In more recent years she has received honorary doctorates, been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, named Composer of the Year by Musical America, and in 2015 she was honoured with the award of the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama. Yet for all her success, she says that composing music is still as difficult as it ever was.

Mercy (Shaking)
Theo Bleckmann, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Allison Sniffin, piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Gotham Lullaby
Bjork, voice

Meredith Monk Arr. Don Byron
Click Song #1
Don Byron, performer

Impermanence (Particular Dance)
Meredith Monk, voice
Theo Bleckmann, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ellen Fisher, voice
Silvie Jensen, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Sasha Bogdanowitsch, voice
Allison Sniffin, piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion
Bohdan Hilash, double ocarina, Balinese flute, zaphoon, punji

Impermanence (Between Song)
Meredith Monk, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice and piano
John Hollenbeck, percussion
Bohdan Hilash, clarinet

Songs of Ascension (Shift)
Todd Reynolds, violin
Courtney Orlando, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Songs of Ascension (Vow)
Katie Geissinger, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello

Songs of Ascension (Burn)
Ellen Fisher, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
Meredith Monk, voice
Bruce Rameker, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice
Sasha Bogdanowitsch, voice
Sidney Chen, voice
Emily Eagen, voice
Holly Nadal, voice
Toby Newman, voice
Peter Sciscioli, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Courtney Orlando, violin
Nadia Sirota, viola
Ha-Yang Kim, cello
Allison Sniffin, violin
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet
John Hollenbeck, percussion

Songs of Ascension (Strand: Inner psalm)
Meredith Monk, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice
Katie Geissinger, voice
Ellen Fisher, voice
Bruce Rameker, voice
Ching Gonzalez, voice
John Hollenbeck, voice
Courtney Orlando, voice
Holly Nadal, voice
Nadia Sirota, voice
Ha-Yang Kim, voice
Peter Sciscioli, voice
Todd Reynolds, violin
Bohdan Hilash, bass clarinet

Light Songs (Click Song #2)
Meredith Monk, voice

On Behalf Of Nature (Water/Sky Rant)
Meredith Monk, voice
Bohdan Hilash, Eb clarinet, Macauan bird calls, Burmese whistles, seljefløyte
John Hollenbeck, prepared vibraphone, cuica
Allison Sniffin, keyboard, French horn, voice
Laura Sherman, harp

Producer Luke Whitlock

Meredith Monk talks about the challenges of allowing her music to be published.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.