“Magician of the voice” Meredith Monk coming to University of Rochester for residency, performance, lecture, and master classes

September 19, 2019

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057, jkaufman@esm.rochester.edu)

Meredith Monk, internationally celebrated composer, performer, director/choreographer and filmmaker will be in residence at the University of Rochester Oct. 20-23, 2019 for a multi-day program titled Dancing Voice/Singing Body: a residence with Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble.

While in Rochester, Monk will serve as both the inaugural visiting artist for the Institute for the Performing Arts at the University’s School of Arts and Sciences, and the 2019 Glenn Watkins Lecturer at the University’s Eastman School of Music. This Eastman lecture program was established in 2003 by distinguished musicologist and Eastman School of Music alumnus Glenn Watkins ’53, to bring an exceptional figure in the field of music and related humanistic disciplines to speak at the school.

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Considered one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer of what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance”. Over the last six decades Monk has received numerous awards and honors including a MacArthur “Genius” award and Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. Recently, Monk received three of the highest honors bestowed on a living artist in the United States-  induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2019), the 2017 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. In conjunction with her 50th season of performing and creating work, she was named Carnegie Hall’s 2014-15 Debs Composer’s Chair. Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented at major venues throughout the world.

“Meredith is the epitome of the values we hold in the performing arts at the University of Rochester,” says Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Institute for the Performing Arts, and director of the Program of Dance and Movement in the School of Arts and Sciences. “She is an extraordinary artist who takes risks and pioneered in the disciplines of music, dance, film, opera, and cross-disciplinary work, challenging and changing the status quo and inspiring generations of artists in multiple disciplines.”

On Monday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m., Monk will present Cellular Songs: Concert Version at the Spurrier Dance Theater on the University’s River Campus. Cellular Songs is an interdisciplinary music theater composition that explores the interdependency of humans and nature and is inspired by the complex biological processes of cells. Joining Monk in performance are the women of her award-winning Vocal Ensemble, Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Allison Sniffin and Jo Stewart. A reception will follow the performance.

While admission is free, individuals should register for tickets through: https://rax.rochester.edu/meredithmonk

On Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 12:30 p.m., as Eastman’s 2019 Glenn Watkins Lecturer, Monk will speak about her life and work. She will be interviewed by Anaar Desai-Stephens, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Eastman. The event will take place in Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music.

“Meredith’s work has a prophetic quality – it shows us what the world might be like while reminding us of where we have been. In this way, she reminds us of what the arts can do in the present moment,” said Desai-Stephens, who will interview Monk for the Glenn Watkins Lecture. “I’m so eager for the Rochester community to experience Meredith’s work and creative process, for it opens up new, expansive ways of thinking about the role of the artist and creative activity in contemporary society.”

The Dancing Voice/Singing Body residency and public events are extraordinary opportunities for the Rochester community to hear Monk speak and perform. Both the Cellular Songs: Concert Version performance and Glenn Watkins lecture are free and open to the public. In addition to her two public events, Monk and the members of her Vocal Ensemble will also give several master classes with University of Rochester students on River Campus and at Eastman.

“It is a privilege to welcome Meredith Monk to Rochester and to Eastman,” said Jamal Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “Her body of work and artistry extend to every facet of the arts.  We are excited about the opportunity for Eastman students to learn and interact with her and her team.”

“I am honored to be in residence with my Vocal Ensemble this fall at the University of Rochester, and to serve as the inaugural visiting artist for the Institute for the Performing Arts and the 2019 Glenn Watkins Lecturer at the Eastman School of Music,” shares Meredith Monk. “Knowing the strong tradition and reputation there, I am looking forward to working, performing and sharing my philosophy with the talented students and faculty, as well as with the broader Rochester community.”

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About the University of Rochester

The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery. 

About the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music, coming from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls.

About the University of Rochester’s Institute for Performing Arts 

The Institute for the Performing Arts was formed in 2015 to bring together the disciplines of music, theater, and dance into a collaborative venture. The institute serves to encourage and bolster performance programs on the River Campus as a way to further inspire students with or without prior training or experience to explore a variety of aesthetic art forms and opportunities. It promotes the performances of College concerts, events, and productions to the campus community and to the public at large and regularly encourages students to attend professionally produced events off campus. The institute also works to increase collaboration and strengthen the relationships among the College, the Eastman School of Music, and the Memorial Art Gallery, as well as with community partners.