Portrait photo courtesy of Bunko

Meredith Monk

USA Prudential Fellow

  • Theater & Performance
  • 2006

    New York, NY


    Meredith Monk is an interdisciplinary artist whose groundbreaking work over the past 40 years has made her an icon of the avant-garde. Her innovative practice spans the fields of music, theater, dance, and the visual arts. She was trained as a musician and performing artist, participating in Fluxus happenings in New York and collaborating in the many experimental theatrical pieces that were presented at Judson Church in the 1960s. Her works challenge the typical parameters of genre and the structures of performance. She has staged site-specific works in parking lots, her own loft, and the Guggenheim Museum, and has created operas, films, choral and instrumental musical works, and installations in collaboration with visual artists. Monk founded The House, a company focused on interdisciplinary performance, in 1968 and formed the Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble in 1978 to focus on experimental approaches to musical forms. As a vocal innovator, she has made more than a dozen recordings, including her recent work mercy. Recent projects include a musical theater piece for the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, which premiered earlier this year at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a new composition for her vocal ensemble and the Kronos Quartet called Songs of Ascension in collaboration with visual artist Ann Hamilton. In 2006, Monk celebrated the 40th year of her career in a six-hour celebration at Carnegie Hall, performing with her ensemble and other artists, such as John Zorn and Bjork. She is the recipient of a 1995 MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, three Obies (including an award for sustained achievement), two Villager Awards, and two Bessie awards for sustained creative achievement, among other honors. Monk is a fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctor of arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, the Julliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Boston Conservancy.

    Turtle Dreams (Waltz), 1983, left to right: Ching Gonzalez, Meredith Monk, Theo Bleckmann, Katie Geissinger; photo courtesy Stephanie Berger

    Turtle Dreams (Waltz), 1983, left to right: Ching Gonzalez, Meredith Monk, Theo Bleckmann, Katie Geissinger; photo courtesy Stephanie Berger