Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


First published in 2014, it now includes an eight-page color portfolio and has been updated with discussions of her latest music-theatre work.


PAJ Publications, one of TCG's partner publishers has announced the publication of Conversations with Meredith Monk (Expanded Edition) by Bonnie Marranca.

This new, expanded edition of Conversations with Meredith Monk offers a fascinating portrait of the internationally renowned composer, performer, director, and filmmaker, from her early years to the present.

First published in 2014, it now includes an eight-page color portfolio and has been updated with discussions of her latest music-theatre work, Cellular Songs, and a work-in-progress, Indra's Net, in addition to the recent revival of her opera Atlas, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic-a work that the New York Times critic called "her masterpiece and one of the defining operatic experiments of the 20th century"-and the showing of the remastered film of Monk's great work Quarry.

The five long conversations that comprise the volume, the latest in PAJ's "Performance Ideas" series, generate invaluable insights into artistic process, the human voice, interrelationships of time, space, and music, and the complexity of artistic legacies. What is a "contemporary" work? How does an artwork retain its integrity of form over time? -these are some of the questions Monk explores.

In these deeply engaging conversations, Monk speaks in great detail of her creation of music-theatre works, operas, and films, reflecting on the large-cast theatrical works and the more recent, poetically distilled, abstract pieces. In her preface to the new edition, "Performance as a Life Science," Bonnie Marranca writes: "Now, against the background of life in extremis, it is evident that Monk had already acknowledged both the always unknown future and the resilience of human beings. For decades her body of work has been rooting itself in the recurrent themes of spiritual quest (Songs of Ascension), healing (The Politics of Quiet), compassion (mercy), plague (Book of Days), fragility of life (impermanence), cultural identity (Ellis Island), historical trauma (Quarry), ecology (On Behalf of Nature), and community (Cellular Songs)."

"If Monk is seeking a place in the classical firmament, classical music has much to learn from her. She conveys a fundamental humanity and humility that is rare in new-music circles." -Alex Ross, The New Yorker

"Meredith Monk has given new voice to the spirit, knit the word together with her universal vision to music, and balanced movement and stillness in ways that illuminate and transform us all. Eternity will never be the same." -Pico Iyer

Meredith Monk is a composer, performer, director, choreographer, and filmmaker, internationally celebrated for her new vocabularies of contemporary performance. In addition to her vocal pieces, music-theatre works, and operas, Monk has composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Carnegie Hall, where she held the 2014-15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair in conjunction with her fiftieth year of working in the arts. Her music can be heard in films by Terrence Malick, Jean-Luc Godard, David Byrne, and the Coen Brothers. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings, most of them on the ECM New Series label, including the Grammy-nominated impermanence.

Monk is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obies and Bessies, and Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from the Republic of France. Among her many operas and music-theatre works are 16 Millimeter Earrings, ATLAS, Education of the Girlchild, mercy, and Songs of Ascension (both in collaboration with Ann Hamilton), The Politics of Quiet, Quarry, and Vessel, a pioneering site-specific piece. Her music-theatre works On Behalf of Nature, Cellular Songs, and the forthcoming Indra's Net form a trilogy on the interdependence of human beings and nature. Monk's filmography includes Book of Days, Ellis Island, and a collection of short silent films. Her visual art works and installations have been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Whitney Biennial, and the Frederieke Taylor Gallery in New York City.

In recent years, Meredith Monk has received three of the highest honors bestowed on an American living artist: induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You