Meredith Monk, Born in Lima, Peru on November 20th, 1942 comes from a long lineage of musical preeminence. Her mother, known as Audrey Marsh, was a musician preceded by her grandfather who was a cantor in the Czar’s court. Meredith’s grandmother was a pianist and her paternal grandfather founded the Zellman Conservatory of Music in Harlem, New York.
Monk’s education consists of a broad spectrum of the performing arts. She began her studies with the integration of sound, sight and movement with classes in the Dalcroze Eurythmics Method. At the age of 8 she moved to Connecticut where she took ballet, modern dance, and mime. It was then at George School that she participated by acting in plays and choreographing student productions in dance and musical comedy. In 1964 Meredith went on to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in interdisciplinary performing arts. It was here that she:
“was encouraged to work with a feeling, an idea […] and let the medium and form find itself. It seemed that finally [she] was able to combine movement with music and words, all coming from a single source […] a total experience” (in Moritz 1985:19).
Meredith Monk later went on to work with Cunningham and Joffrey. She recalls of Joffrey:
“Sculptors were making dances, musicians were painting, poets were composing music. There was a vibrant atmosphere of experimentation, of breaking down boundaries” (Smithner 95).
It was here that her taste for artistic collaboration was attuned and the development of her unique artistic contribution began to unfold.
Meredith Monk’s “Education of the Girl Child”