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

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

57 minutes

Music Played

  • Meredith Monk

    Folkdance

    Performer: Meredith Monk. Performer: Bruce Brubaker. Performer: Ursula Oppens.
    • Piano Songs.
    • ECM Records.
    • 3.
  • Meredith Monk & Robert Een

    Facing North - Artic Bar

  • Meredith Monk & Robert Een

    Facing North - Hocket

  • Meredith Monk

    Atlas - Lonely Spirit

    Ensemble: Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble.
    • ECM:4377732.
    • ECM.
    • 6.
  • Meredith Monk

    Atlas - Forest Questions

    Ensemble: Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble.
    • ECM:4377732.
    • ECM.
    • 7.
  • Meredith Monk

    Nightfall

    Ensemble: Musica Sacra. Conductor: Richard Westenburg.
    • Catalyst: 09026683292.
    • 11.
  • Meredith Monk

    Volcano Songs

    Singer: Meredith Monk.
    • ECM:15894535392.
    • ECM.
    • 6.
  • Meredith Monk

    St Petersburg Waltz

    Performer: Nurit Tilles.
    • ECM:15894535392.
    • ECM.
    • 11.

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