Professional Lineage


Meredith Monk is known for her collaborative artistic innovation. She is always up for the challenge of finding new ways of creating work:
“For me the joy is in breaking down categories, finding new hybrid forms or discovering the place where things resonate with each other” (Smithner 113).
In “16 Millimeter Earrings (1966) Monk used film, dance, theatre, and music. She incorporated the apposition of film and physical reality with live and recorded sound. Monk recalls, “I was thinking of the stage as a canvas, like a painter, I worked with a sense of the tactility of surfaces and layers in a literal, physical way” (in Jowitt). She incorporated formaldehyde and the smell of burning tires. “I was going for a totally synaesthetic, integrated, perceptual… a kind of poetry of the senses,” Monk said. “This was the absolute breakthrough piece for me. No one was doing anything like that at the time.” (Teplitsky) It was the first time she performed what she calls “pure theatre.”

Excerpts from “16 Millimeter Earrings”

“She may even loom larger as the new century unfolds, and later generations will envy those who got to see her live.” -Alex Ross in “The Rest is Noise”

monk and cage

In 1992 Meredith Monk, John Cage, and Anthony De Mare released a classical contemporary album titled “Pianos and Voices.”

What will continue to live on is Monk’s influence on the coming generations of singers and musicians. Over her 40-year career she has continued to develop new voice techniques and encouraged young performers to explore their own unique style of music. Below is a trailer of her work with youth musicians from Waelrant Children’s Choir from Antwerp.

And her working with Mount Holoyke College through a residency.

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.” -Meredith Monk



2 thoughts on “Professional Lineage

  1. The idea of ‘poetry of the senses’ really sparked my interest here. Dance in performance most often offers experiences for the audience’s eyes, ears, and (in a sense) bodies. In my experience, my sense of smell has always somehow allowed me to access distant and obscure memories – often difficult to describe. With that said, I would be extremely curious as to how smell might be implemented in the experience of performance.


    1. I’ve always thought that too! There have been a few times that I’ve actually worked to incorporate smell into a work (whether mine or someone elses even if the works have never been performed). Smell is such a strong sense that it could be really powerful in performance.


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