Monk, Meredith (Jane)

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Monk, Meredith (Jane)

Monk, Meredith (Jane), American composer, singer, and filmmaker; b. N.Y., Nov. 20, 1942. She studied eurythmies from an early age. She was educated at Sarah Lawrence Coll. (B.A., 1964), then was a pupil in voice of Vicki Starr, John Devers, and Jeanette Lovetri, in composition of Ruth Lloyd, Richard Averee, and Glenn Mack, and in piano of Gershon Konikow. She pursued an active career as a singer, filmmaker, director, choreographer, recording artist, and composer. In 1968 she organized The House in N.Y., a company devoted to interdisciplinary approaches to the arts; in 1978 she founded there her own vocal chamber ensemble, with which she toured widely in the U.S. and abroad. In 1972 and 1982 she held Guggenheim fellowships; received various ASCAP awards and many commissions; in 1995 she was awarded a Mac Arthur fellowship. Her unique soprano vocalizations employ a wide range of ethnic and avant-garde influences. As one of the first and most natural of performance artists, she developed a flexible, imaginative theatrical style influenced by dream narrative and physical movement.


16 Millimeter Earrings for Voice and Guitar (1966); Candy Bullets and Moon for Voice, Electric Organ, Electric Bass, and Drums (1967; in collaboration with D. Preston); Blueprint: Overload/Blueprint 2 for Voice, Echoplex, and Tape (1967); Juice, theater cantata for 85 Voices, Jew’s Harp, and 2 Violins (1969); A Raw Recital for Voice and Electric Organ (1970); Needle-Brain Lloyd and the Systems Kid for 150 Voices, Electric Organ, Guitar, and Flute (1970); Key, album of invisible theater for Voice, Electric Organ, Vocal Quartet, Percussion, and Jew’s Harp (1970–71); Plainsong for Bill’s Bojo for Electric Organ (1971); Vessel, opera epic for 75 Voices, Electric Organ, Dulcimer, and Accordion (1971); Paris for Piano and Vocal Duet (1972); Education of the Girlchild, opera for 6 Voices, Electric Organ, and Piano (1972–73); Our Lady of Late for Voice and Wine Glass (1972–73); Chacon for 25 Voices, Piano, and Percussion (1974); Anthology and Small Scroll for Voice and Piano (1975); Quarry, opera for 38 Voices, 2 Pump Organs, 2 Soprano Recorders, and Tape (1976); Venice/Milan for 15 Voices and Piano, 4-Hands (1976); Songs from the Hill for Voice (1976–77); Tablet for 4 Voices, Piano, 4-Hands, and 2 Soprano Recorders (1977); The Plateau Series for 5 Voices and Tape (1977); Dolmen Music for 6 Voices, Cello, and Percussion (1979); Recent Ruins for 14 Voices, Tape, and Cello (1979); Turtle Dreams (Waltz) for 4 Voices and 2 Electric Organs (1980–81); Specimen Days for 14 Voices, Piano, and 2 Electric Organs (1981); View No. 1 for Piano, Synthesizer, and Voice (1981) and No. 2 for Voice and Synthesizer (1982); Ellis Island for 2 Pianos (1982); Tokyo Cha-Cha for 6 Voices and 2 Electric Organs (1983); Engine Steps for Tape Collage (1983); 2 Men Walking for 3 Voices and Electric Organs (1983); The Games for 16 Voices, Synthesizer, Keyboards, Flemish Bagpipes, Bagpipes, Chinese Horn, and Rauschpfeife (1983); Panda Chant I for 4 Voices and // for 8 Voices (both 1984); Graduation Song for 16 Voices (1984); Book of Days for 25 Voices, Synthesizer, and Piano (1985); Scared Song for Voice, Synthesizer, and Piano (1986); / Don’t Know for Voice and Piano (1986); Double Fiesta for Voice and 2 Pianos (1986); String for Voice (1986); Window in 7’s (for Nurit) for Piano (1986); Duet Behavior for 2 Voices (1987); The Ringing Place for 9 Voices (1987); Do You Be for 10 Voices, 2 Pianos, Synthesizer, Violin, and Bagpipes (1987); Book of Days, film score for 10 Voices, Cello, Shawm, Synthesizer, Hammered Dulcimer, Bagpipe, and Hurdy Gurdy (1988); Fayum Music for Voice, Hammered Dulcimer, and Double Ocarina (1988); Light Songs for Voice (1988); Raven for Piano (1988); Cat Song for Voice (1988); Parlour Games for 2 Pianos (1988); Waltz for 2 Pianos (1988); Processional for Piano and Voice (1988); Phantom Waltz for 2 Pianos (1990); Facing North for 2 Voices and Tape (1990; in collaboration with R. Een); Atlas, opera (Houston, Feb. 22, 1991); 3 Heavens and Hells for 4 Voices (1992); Custom Made for Piano and 1 or 2 Voices (1993); American Archeology No. 1: Roosevelt Island for 9 Voices, Organ, Bass, Medieval Drum, and Shawm (1994); Volcano Songs for Voice, Tape, and Piano (1994); Nightfall for 16 Voices (1995); Denkai Krikiki Chants for 4 Voices (1995); Magic Frequencies, chamber opera (1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Monk, Meredith (Jane)

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