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Wednesday, November 7, 2018 7:00 pm Lisser Hall
Free Admission
This event is free but to assure admission please reserve tickets online using the button on the right side of this page

MEREDITH MONK: Archaeology of an Artist

Archaeology of an Artist Meredith Monkis a lively performance lecture with video clips that distills Meredith Monk’s 50-year journey as a composer, choreographer, filmmaker, performer, and tireless cartographer of the frontiers of the human voice. It will conclude with an audience Q&A with Meredith Monk. Archaeology of an Artist is an ideal way to go behind the scenes with a legendary architect of interdisciplinary art as we know it today and learn about the commissioned vocal work, Indra's Net, that Meredith Monk is composing for a premiere in Lisser Hall in 2020.

Aligning with Monk’s Buddhist practice, the notion of Indra’s Net comes from the Mahayana school (3rd century). The net of the Vedic god Indra hangs above his palace with a jewel that reflects all other jewels at each vertex. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, the image of Indra’s Net is used as a metaphor illustrating the interdependence and interpenetration of all phenomena, Monk’s new work will center on the viewer’s perception, microscopic to telescopic, and how that influences our relationships in the world.

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director / choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented at major venues throughout the world. In conjunction with her 50th Season of creating and performing, she was appointed the 2014-15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. Recently Monk received two of the highest honors bestowed to a living artist in the United States—the 2017 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Since graduating Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, Monk has also received a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award, a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, and an inaugural USA Prudential Fellow award in 2006. Monk holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, Boston Conservatory, Cornish College of the Arts, The Juilliard School, Lafayette College, Mount Holyoke College, the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of the Arts.

In 1978 Monk founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical textures and forms. She has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and the highly acclaimed On Behalf of Nature (2016). Selected scores of her work are available through Boosey & Hawkes. In addition to her numerous vocal pieces, music-theater works and operas, Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Carnegie Hall, Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale, among others.

Monk has been hailed as one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices and “one of America’s coolest composers”. 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." Monk’s most recent work, Cellular Songs, premiered in March 2018 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York to sold-out houses and continues to tour internationally.

“Mills College is excited to collaborate on a two year-long project to create an original interdisciplinary work by Meredith Monk,” said President Elizabeth L. Hillman. “The project, which will culminate in a premiere performance at the newly renovated Lisser Hall in 2020, aligns with our mission to foster excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, and technology while connecting students and faculty to each other, the local community, and the world.”

“The commissioned project intersects theater, movement, voice and electronic sound—Monk's work is already familiar to many of our students, so the opportunity to be a partner in this commission will generate tremendous excitement both at Mills College and with other cultural and educational institutions in the Bay Area, and draw a new audience for our art, dance, theater and music programming.”
—James Fei, Composer and the Davidson Professor of Electronic Arts and Program Head at Mills College

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