Music

Composer Meredith Monk Receives Arts Medal

New York composer Meredith Monk is a recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts.

In 2014, composer Meredith Monk celebrated a 50-year career as a composer, performer, choreographer, and so much more. Meredith is a New York-based musician who is probably best known for her use of unorthodox vocal techniques in her work, as well as her approach that combines music with movement. Today, she is one of the recipients of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, which will be presented by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

Photo of Meredith Monk performing on stage.
Composer Meredith Monk performing in her work On Behalf of Nature for the New Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Describing the music of Meredith Monk is a topic that could take up several pages of text, but why read when you could listen? For instance, check out the almost Medieval quality of “Change” from her 1971 album Key (which develops into something completely different by the end of the track):

Then there’s the serene, almost ethereal character of “Gotham Lullaby” from Dolmen Music:

If you’re looking for something a little groovier, dance along to the simple choreography of Panda Chant II!

And here is Meredith combining aspects of music, movement, and even architecture into an entire album:

With 50 years of work under her belt, this only scratches the surface of Meredith Monk’s fascinating music and performances, and if you’re interested in exploring her more, check out her website. She was also featured in an episode of WQXR’s Meet the Composer this year, where she discusses her background and the mystical quality of her music with host Nadia Sirota. If you’re curious about the other recipients of the National Medal of Arts, you can find out more information here from the National Endowment for the Arts. The ceremony will be live streamed today, Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 3:00 PM ET.

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