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Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk’s avant-garde, mixed-media creations blend music, dance, film, and live performance to explore the collision of past and present, from the Black Plague to the AIDS crisis and from the medieval ghetto to Ellis Island. Monk studied music and dance at Sarah Lawrence College and began composing and choreographing professionally soon after graduating in 1964. In 1968 she created the House Foundation for the Arts, where she created and directed interdisciplinary works, such as 1969’s Juice, which began with 85 performers on the spiral ramp of the Guggenheim Museum and ended with filmed sequences shown in Monk’s apartment. Later works, like her vision of Joan of Arc called Vessel, also involved both mixed disciplines and changes in location. Her filmed works, such as 1981’s Ellis Island and 1989’s Book of Days, show an interplay between biblical and medieval events and modern ones. Her musical compositions range from a 1991 opera, Atlas, to music for The Big Lebowski in 1998, to 2004’s symphonic Stringsongs for the Kronos Quartet. Her boundary-pushing art has earned her two Guggenheim fellowships, a MacArthur grant, three Obie awards, the Dance Magazine award, and many other honors.

Topics: Art, Music

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Meredith Monk at the Krannert Cernter for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois, 2014.

Courtesy of Marc-Anthony Macon.

Date of Birth


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Meredith Monk ." (Viewed on December 11, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/monk-meredith>.


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