Performance Saturday, May 2, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble

50th Anniversary Concert

Zankel Hall
For the culminating event of her residency, Meredith Monk is joined by the extraordinary vocalists and instrumentalists who make up her ensemble. Selections from several of her most recent works—On Behalf of Nature, impermanence, and mercy—will be performed alongside classic works from earlier decades, offering an expansive view of Monk’s 50 years of making music.

Part of My Time, My Music.


  • Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble


  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from Juice
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from Songs from the Hill
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from Light Songs
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from Volcano Songs: Duets
  • MEREDITH MONK "Panda Chant I" from The Games
  • MEREDITH MONK "Hocket" from Facing North
  • MEREDITH MONK Dolmen Music
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from mercy
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from impermanence
  • MEREDITH MONK Selections from On Behalf of Nature

  • Encore:
  • MEREDITH MONK "Breath Song"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble

    Meredith Monkis a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. A pioneer in extended vocal technique, she 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. Ms. Monk was recently named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France and the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America. She has also received the Founders Award from New Music USA, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and was named one of NPR's 50 Great Voices. In addition to her works for unaccompanied voice and voice with keyboard, Ms. Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Carnegie Hall, the New World Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Kronos Quartet, St. Louis Symphony, and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Selected scores of her work are available through Boosey & Hawkes.

    Ms. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings with ECM Records, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence, and her music has been featured in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen brothers, among others. Her concert and stage work has been presented by the Lincoln Center Festival, BAM, Houston Grand Opera, London's Barbican Centre, and at major venues from Brazil to Syria. Ms. Monk's numerous honors include a MacArthur "Genius" Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, 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, San Francisco Art Institute, and The Boston Conservatory. In conjunction with her 50th season of creating and performing work in New York, Ms. Monk is the holder of the 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

    Theo Bleckmannis a Grammy-nominated singer, composer, and arranger whose work spans concerts, installations, live electronic vocal processing, contemporary music theater, cabaret, ambient music, and performance art. Mr. Bleckmann has released a series of diverse albums, including his collection of acoustic solos for voice (I dwell in possibility) and his highly acclaimed Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush. He has worked with such artists as Ambrose Akinmusire, Laurie Anderson, Uri Caine, Philip Glass, Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Phil Kline, David Lang, Kirk Nurock, Frances McDormand, Ben Monder, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and, most prominently, with Meredith Monk since 1994. Mr. Bleckmann also appeared with Laurie Anderson on Late Show with David Letterman. In 2010, Terry Gross interviewed him for NPR's Fresh Air. Mr. Bleckmann is currently working on his first album for ECM. Visit for more information.

    Sidney Chenis a member of Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble, currently performing in Ms. Monk's most recent stage work, On Behalf of Nature. He also sang in the premiere performances of Ms. Monk's Realm Variations with the San Francisco Symphony as part of the American Mavericks festival. He is a founding member of The M6, with whom he appears on the ECM recording Songs of Ascension. In 2006, he participated in the Meredith Monk Young Artists Concert in Zankel Hall. This season, he performs Berio's Sinfonia for eight soloists and orchestra with the San Francisco new music ensemble Volti. He sang in the 45th-anniversary celebration organized by the Kronos Quartet of Terry Riley's In C at Carnegie Hall, and performed in a staged production of David Lang's the little match girl passion by San Francisco Lyric Opera, which toured to Denmark.

    Ellen Fisher's movement performance work incorporates visual and sound elements to create a landscape that challenges the audience through perceptual scale change and kinetic empathy. Her performance work and teaching is informed by ethnographic studies in South Asian culture. As a 2012 Fulbright Scholar, she continues her research in Sri Lankan dance rituals. Ms. Fisher began performing with Meredith Monk / The House Foundation in the 1970s in such works as The Plateau Series and Recent Ruins, and more recently has appeared in impermanence, Education of the Girlchild Revisited, Songs of Ascension, and On Behalf of Nature.

    Katie Geissingerhas performed with Meredith Monk worldwide in concert and theater pieces such as ATLAS, mercy, the Grammy-nominated impermanence, Songs of Ascension, and The Politics of Quiet, which received a Bessie Award. Career highlights include the premiere of Bang on a Can's Obie-winning The Carbon Copy Building (Canteloupe); appearing in Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach (Elektra Nonesuch); and performances as a soloist in Bach's Magnificat, Honegger's Le roi David, and Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar at Carnegie Hall. Other credits include Jonathan Miller's staging of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at BAM; John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple at Lincoln Center; and Ann Hamilton's the event of a thread, with music by David Lang, at the Park Avenue Armory. Her Broadway credits include Baz Luhrmann's production of La bohème and Coram Boy. Upcoming performances include Julia Wolfe's Steel Hammer in collaboration with Anne Bogart's SITI Company and the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

    Ching Gonzalezwas born in Manila, raised in Honolulu, and has worked in New York City's experimental dance, music, and theater scenes since 1976. He became a member of Meredith Monk / The House Foundation and Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble in 1984. He has also presented his original dance and theater works in New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu. He is a founding member of Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, and a member of Hot Mouth, an a cappella hip-hop theater group. Mr. Gonzalez has appeared as Honey Love in Jeff Weiss's midnight serial Hot Keys and in The King and I on Broadway with Yul Brynner. Mr. Gonzalez extends special thanks to Columbia University Human Resources, where he has worked as an officer of administration since 1998.

    Andrea Goodmanwas an original performer of Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble (1974-1991) and can be heard on five of Ms. Monk's albums. She is currently a music director, composer, actress, and singer with Figures of Speech Theatre and partners with vocalist Anna Dembska in Music of a New Frequency. Also an author, Ms. Goodman's writings include her book Lightning Holds My Hand: A Woman's Journal of Guidance, published in 2008; her essay "A Path Like Water," which appears in the collection Spell Breaking: Remembered Ways of Being; and her poetry, which is printed in the anthology Stepping Into Ourselves. She is the founder of Ruby Throated Spirit, Sanctuary, Voice Studio, and Labyrinth in Boothbay, Maine, where she offers voice lessons, sound-healing, astrology and tarot readings, sacred ceremonies, blessings, and retreats. Ordained in 1998, she is a high priestess / minister of the Ministry of Maåt. Visit for more information.

    Bohdan Hilashhas appeared at many of the world's renowned concert venues and festivals as a performer of orchestral, chamber, and contemporary music; opera; musical theater; and jazz. He has performed with several of the world's leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, and Zubin Mehta. He has premiered numerous new compositions written for him throughout the world and worked with many of the field's foremost artists and ensembles, including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Continuum. Mr. Hilash's diverse performance career encompasses projects in jazz and ethnic music, music for radio and television, and numerous recordings and soundtracks for feature films. In the theater, Mr. Hilash has been a featured performer in collaboration with leading theater companies, playwrights, and directors, including Arthur Miller and Lee Breuer.

    Composer, percussionist, and four-time Grammy Award nominee
    John Hollenbeckis renowned in both the jazz and new-music worlds. He has gained widespread recognition as the driving force behind the unclassifiable Claudia Quintet and the ambitious John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble-groups with roots in jazz, world music, and contemporary composition. He is well known in new-music circles for his longtime collaboration with Meredith Monk and has worked with many of the world's leading musicians in jazz, including Bob Brookmeyer, Fred Hersch, and Tony Malaby. Mr. Hollenbeck is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award, and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. His most notable works include commissions by Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ethos Percussion Group, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, University of Rochester, Ensemble Cairn, Orchestre national de Jazz, and Frankfurt Radio Bigband. Since 2005, he has been a professor of jazz drums and improvisation at the Jazz-Institut Berlin. His next large ensemble recording, Songs We Like a Lot, will be released on Sunnyside Records in June 2015.

    As a vocalist, violinist, and dancer,
    Naaz Hosseinihas performed worldwide with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians. She has composed for and performed with Pilobolus, National Theatre of the Deaf, and Bridgman | Packer Dance; and in film scores of John McDowell and Richard Martinez. Her voice attunement workshops have been presented at numerous venues, including the New York Open Center and Kripalu. Ms. Hosseini's CD, SoundPath, is a meditative journey that opened the doorway for her voice healing work. She has combined her extensive experience and training as a psychotherapist, performer, and educator to create Powerful Presence coaching, which she uses to help individuals embody their voice personally and professionally. She maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Nyack, New York.

    In a career that spans 42 years,
    Paul Langlandhas built an international reputation as a pioneering dance teacher and innovator, choreographer, and performer. Career highlights include creating Allan Wayne Work in 1978, a teaching and choreographic system based on the work of American dancer Allan Wayne; being a member of the original Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble; being a central figure in the establishment of Contact Improvisation in New York City; collaborating and performing with Mary Overlie while she developed the Six Viewpoints; and presenting his award-winning choreography and teaching worldwide. Recent projects include performing in Andrea Kleine's Screening Room at The Chocolate Factory Theater, Simone Forti's Planet at the 92nd Street Y, and Ms. Forti's Huddle and Meredith Monk's "Rally" from Quarry at the New Mexico School for the Arts. Mr. Langland is the recipient of the 2014 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts Educator Award and is an arts professor at New York University's Experimental Theatre Wing. Visit for more information.

    Bruce Ramekerbegan singing with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble in 2008. He has appeared as both a baritone and a countertenor on the stages of Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, The Town Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and the Edinburgh and Spoleto festivals in performances of diverse repertoire that includes ancient music, operetta, oratorio, tango, and new music. He has premiered new vocal works of Richard Pearson Thomas, Ben Yarmolinsky, John Kennedy, Anna Dembska, William George, Holly Herndon, Roberto Scarcella Perino, and Luna Pearl Woolf. Mr. Rameker has sung with Skylight Music Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, New York City Opera, Anchorage Opera, San Francisco Ballet, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Waverly Consort, Voices of Ascension, and Musica Sacra. Recordings include A Seeker's Faith, One Body, Just Another Hour with the Trillium Ensemble, ¡Iberia! with the Waverly Consort, Klaas de Vries's A King, Riding, and Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension and On Behalf of Nature.

    Allison Sniffinis a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and member of Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble since 1996. She collaborated with Ms. Monk in the orchestration of Possible Sky, Night, WEAVE, Realm Variations, and Backlight; edited an album of piano music; and prepared numerous a cappella and instrumental works for publication. Ms. Sniffin has received grants from Meet The Composer and Concert Artists Guild for her compositions and has recently composed commissioned pieces for Melodia Women's Choir and Union Theological Seminary. She is organist and pianist at Middle Collegiate Church and Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City.

    Brian Snowis a member of Newspeak, The OMNI Ensemble, and the Proteus Ensemble, and performs regularly with many contemporary music ensembles, including ACME, Alarm Will Sound, and the Talea Ensemble. He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists, including John Legend, Max Richter, the Emerson String Quartet, and The National, and has worked with composers who include David T. Little, Nico Muhly, and Martin Bresnick, premiering dozens of new works. Along with violinist Caroline Chin, he recently released a CD of music for violin and cello by Elliott Carter on Centaur Records that was included in Sequenza 21's list of most memorable recordings of 2013. He has also appeared on recordings on the New Amsterdam Records, Innova Recordings, Cantaloupe Music, and Naxos labels. Mr. Snow holds degrees from Stony Brook University, Yale University, and Longy School of Music, and studied with Aldo Parisot, Colin Carr, and David Finckel. He teaches cello at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Western Connecticut State University, and is an affiliate artist and cello teacher at Sarah Lawrence College. 

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At a Glance

Over the course of a career that has spanned six decades across two centuries (actually two millennia!), Meredith Monk (born in 1942 in New York, New York) has redefined opera, theater, dance, chamber, and orchestral music through her iconic interdisciplinary compositions and performances. Her magical and transformative output usually encompasses a complete symbiosis of multiple artistic practices and much of it—from the very beginning—has been extremely ambitious in scope. Yet at the same time, the core for Monk has always been the human voice, our most personal vehicle for artistic expression. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of her first performances in New York City, tonight’s concert—the culminating event of Monk’s Carnegie Hall residency as holder of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair—focuses on her unique contribution to vocal music. It traces the evolution from the pioneering solo works she created for her own performance to some of her landmark creations for the Vocal Ensemble she founded in 1978, and ultimately to excerpts from several of her elaborate large-scale music theater works for multiple voices and instruments. Of particular significance is that most of the people interpreting these works this evening are the same performers who originally performed them.
Program Notes


Meredith Monk: Carnegie Hall's 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair

Meredith Monk is the holder of the 2014–2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This performance is part of Signatures, and Meredith Monk.

Part of