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Monk, Meredith  

Kyle Gann

(Jane)

(b New York, NY, 20 Nov 1942). American composer, singer, dancer, and choreographer.

She attended Sarah Lawrence College (BA 1964), where she studied a combination of theater, dance, and music. On her return to New York, she became involved in the James Tenney-Philip Corner-Malcolm Goldstein-Morton Feldman experimental music scene, and in the happenings and performance art of the Judson Theater. In her first important piece, 16-Millimeter Earrings (1966), she filmed herself dancing and made her own experimental soundtrack by running three tape loops simultaneously. Her first large theater work, Juice (1969), an attempt to overturn concert conventions, was performed on three non-consecutive nights over a six-week period in three different and increasingly smaller spaces.

During the early 1970s Monk concentrated primarily on solo work and singing. The majority of her early works are for solo voice, or voice and piano. Despite her activity in other media (she is as often written about by dance, theater, and performance art critics as by music critics), her lithe vocal effects are her most characteristic trademark. Her repertory of vocal techniques includes glottal stops, Amerindian-style vibrato, nasal singing, nonsense syllables, child-like vocal tones, and sounds featured in Balkan singing, Tibetan chanting, and other non-Western traditions. ...