Meredith Monk presented a performance for Frieze London 2013 at Cecil Sharp House, co-commissioned by Frieze Foundation and Liverpool Biennial, with the House Foundation for the Arts. Monk’s performance for Frieze London 2013 was her first London performance in nine years and was accompanied by a keynote lecture on 17 October as part of the Frieze Talks programme, as well as a workshop in Liverpool on 19 October 2013.
Monk is an American composer, singer, director/choreographer, and creator of new opera, music- theater works, films and installations. She creates works at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover new modes of perception. Monk is a pioneer in what is now called ‘extended vocal technique’ and ‘interdisciplinary performance’. Simultaneously ancient and modern, her performance practice incorporates not only vocal innovations, but also theatrical elements and physical movement. Similarly, her compositions unify and connect different art forms and experiences – Monk herself described this fusion of elements as a deep ‘psychic need’.
The intimate setting of Cecil Sharp House paid homage to Monk’s early-1960s roots in folk and rock music. Over the last five decades, Monk has been hailed as ‘a magician of the voice’ and ‘one of America’s coolest composers’. Celebrated internationally, her work has been presented by BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Among her many accolades, she was recently named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France, the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America and one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices. Monk is also a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award and a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.
For Frieze Music, Meredith Monk was in duet with Katie Geissinger who has been performing with Monk since 1990, at festivals and venues worldwide, in concert and in pieces such as ATLAS, The Politics of Quiet (for which Geissinger won a Bessie Award), mercy, the Grammy-nominated impermanence, Songs of Ascension, and On Behalf of Nature.
With special thanks to The House Foundation for the Arts.