Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. A pioneer in “extended vocal technique,” Monk has been hailed as a “magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers”. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition. Recently Monk was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France, a recipient of the 2013 Founders Award from New Music USA, the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America, a 2012 Doris Duke Artist, and one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices.
In addition to numerous vocal, music-theater works and operas, Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas / New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings and her music has also been featured in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented by Lincoln Center Festival, BAM, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria.
Monk’s numerous honors include a Grammy nomination for impermanence, a MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a San Francisco Symphony commission, an American Music Center Letter of Distinction, an ASCAP Concert Music Award and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute and the Boston Conservatory. Monk has been appointed as Carnegie Hall’s 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair.
Monk originally composed Night in 1996 for 10 voices, two keyboards, violin and French horn, and a version of the piece appeared in her music theater work, The Politics of Quiet. Monk later felt that it would benefit from a richer orchestration, and worked with Allison Sniffin, one of her close associates, to create a new rendering, scored for voices and an unusual ensemble of instruments that includes saxophones, synthesizer, bowed psaltery, and a variety of percussion instruments.