ELISABETH JACQUET DE LA GUERRE Les rossignols, dès que le jour commence
EWAN CAMPBELL London, He Felt Fairly Certain, Had Always Been London
AYANNA WITTER-JOHNSON Draw the Line
IMOGEN HOLST Cinquepace & Gigue (from Suite for Unaccompanied Viola) CAROLINE SHAW Plan & Elevation: I. The Ellipse KERRY ANDREW Fruit Songs HANNAH PEEL The Almond Tree MISHA MULLOV-ABBADO The Linden Tree EMILY HALL I am happy living simply and The end of the ending MEREDITH MONK Double Fiesta
The Hermes Experiment is one of the most exciting forces in contemporary music today.
Fronted by the captivating singer Heloïse Werner, this quartet of sensational musicians has been winning over audiences with their arresting stage presence and wildly imaginative programmes, covering all styles of new music in today’s gloriously eclectic scene.
Their effortless ability to bring music from the margins into the mainstream was fully acknowledged last year when The Hermes Experiment won the Young Artist Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society, a prestigious prize that has launched the careers of some of the world’s most famous musicians.
*** Just announced!***
NEW: SOUNDS OF NOW COME & PLAY EVENT, with Heloise Werner of The Hermes Experiment
From 1pm – 3pm on Saturday 2 December 2023, we are also hosting a Come and Play event through our Sounds of Now series. This is in partnership with Contemporary Music for All, and we have Héloïse Werner (from Hermes Experiment) joining us on the day. Either join in as an instrumentalist or vocalist on the day (all abilities of instrument and voice are welcome), or simply relax and watch as an audience member, with opportunities for Q&A throughout. Either way, this is an event to bring you closer to the music and scores will be available to peruse on the day. Find out more and buy tickets here.
Presented in partnership with the Royal Over-Seas League.
Thanks to the Hinrichsen Foundation for supporting Sounds of Now.
JACQUET DE LA GUERRE Elisabeth, Les rossignols, dès que le jour commence
Guardian article https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/jun/23/out-of-her-mouth-cantatas-elisabeth-jacquet-de-la-guerre-dunedin-hera
About the piece and translation https://www.vmii.org/iej-1-cephale-et-procris/56-les-rossignols-des-que-le-jour-commence-chanten
CAMPBELL Ewan, London, He Felt Fairly Certain, Had Always Been London
Ewan grew up in Kent playing cello and double bass. He moved to London in 2002 to study music at King’s College, where he returned in 2008 for his PhD, supervised by George Benjamin and Silvina Milstein. Between those spells in London Ewan achieved distinction in his MPhil at Cambridge University, and was subsequently appointed as Composer-in-Residence with the CU Music Society in 2012. Ewan held an Associate Lecturer position at KCL until 2015, and is now Director of Music at Churchill and Murray Edwards Colleges in Cambridge, where he directs the Inter Alios Choir and seeks to broaden the programming and participation of University music making.
Ewan’s music has been awarded several international composition prizes including the New York based Counterpoint Competition, the Forme uniche Competition in Adelaide and the Italian Mare Nostrum Competition. His works have been performed by ensembles and soloists including: London Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Fretwork, Küss Quartet, Fukio Ensemble, Lontano, Ensemble Matisse, Consortium 5, The Hermes Experiment, Mercury Quartet, Dr K Sextet, Anton Lukoszevieze, Gaby Bultmann, Thomas Gould and Clare Hammond. Ewan enjoys collaborations with other artforms, and has worked with theatre maker Andrew Dawson, choreographer Katie Green, and Physical theatre company Bottlefed, filmaker Sebastian Barner-Rasmussen, and artists Issam Kourbaj and Tim A Shaw.
Ewan directs the Wilderness Orchestra and choir, which perform his orchestral arrangements of artists such as Radiohead, David Bowie, Queen, Aphex Twin and Nina Simone. They have performed with a number of collaborators including Charlotte Church, Kate Nash, London Contemporary Voices, La Fura del Baus, Camille O’Sullivan, Jessie Ware, Francesca Lombardo, beatboxers Shlomo and Reeps One, and actors Olivia Williams, Rashan Stone and Jack Whitehall.
Ewan is an enthusiastic teacher and enjoys working with young people. He mentors students of the Aldeburgh Young Musician scheme; supervises at Cambridge University; delivers workshops for Cambridge Music Outreach and judges the East Anglian Young Composer of the Year Competition.
London, He Felt Fairly Certain, Had Always Been London (2016)
This is a mixed notated / graphic score in which instructions are provided for how to follow a route through the music. Below is a copy of the part for the double bass.
WITTER-JOHNSON Ayanna, Draw the line
Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, pianist and cellist. She has a phenomenal mastery for seamlessly crossing the boundaries of classical, jazz, reggae, soul and R&B, to imprint her unique musical signature with her virtuosic tap, strum and bow with her cello into her sound and vibe.
“As a second-generation Jamaican born in Britain, my music is a body of work that represents, celebrates and pays homage to my ancestral heritage, culture and identity,” explains Ayanna.
An acclaimed and celebrated performer, Ayanna has collaborated with many stellar artists, including Anoushka Shankar, Nitin Sawhney, Andrea Bocelli and Jools Holland. She has also toured extensively across the UK, Europe and the US.
After graduating with a first-class degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna participated in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme. Soon after, as Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre, Ayanna performed as a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors. Later,
whilst studying in the USA at New York’s Manhattan School of Music, she became the only non-American to win ‘Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC.
As a composer, Ayanna has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Güerzenich Orchester, Ligeti Quartet, Kronos Quartet and The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company to name but a few. She was also selected as an arranger/orchestrator for the London Symphony Orchestra (Hugh Masekela, Belief) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Urban Classic).
Ayanna has released three EPs (‘Truthfully’, ‘Black Panther’ & ‘Ella, Reuben & Ay’) and put out her debut album ‘Road Runner’ in 2019, with its two subsequent singles’ Nothing Less’ and ‘Crossroads’, via her own independent record label (Hill and Gully Records). Ayanna has worked with producers Marc Mac (4Hero), James Yarde (Terri Walker, Jamelia, Eric Benet) and recorded with featured artists, including pianist Robert Mitchell and rapper Akala.
With her January 2021 surprise-released EP ‘Rise Up, Ayanna again combined reggae, classical, jazz and R&B to celebrate black culture and identity to uplift and inspire the next generation. The stunning collection of three tracks and videos featuring Akala on ‘Rise Up’, Cleveland Watkiss on ‘Declaration Of Rights’ and the ‘Rise Up Riddim’ have received a huge amount of critical acclaim.
Ayanna said, ‘In ‘Rise Up’, I created a song with a strong message specifically influenced by my Jamaican heritage. The starting point was a dancehall riddim that informed the main cello riff. Lyrically, I challenged myself to create something uplifting with an uplifting message, and it just flowed. I wrote the song for the next generation in the black community to remember they are the key to the future. To celebrate their culture and to be proud of it. Now is not the time to give up on your dreams. No matter how hard things seem, Rise Up, embrace our history and claim our birth rights of freedom and joy.”
Many of Ayanna’s remarkable tracks have received airplay on radio stations, including BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4, 6, BBC Radio London, BBC Manchester, Jazz FM and Scala Radio. Her TV credits include BBC One, London Live, Channel 4 (Sing It Loud: Black and Proud), BBC Proms and a stunning performance on Later…with Jools Holland (BBC One).
Despite the challenges of 2020, Ayanna took it all in her stride and continued to create music. She performed a special Livestream for Royal Albert Hall, took part in Trinity Laban’s Virtual Orchestra and picked up an AIM Award nomination for ‘Best Live Act’. In addition, she presented two shows at Wigmore Hall, appeared on BBC Radio 3’s ‘This Classical Life’ podcast, co-wrote and featured on Anoushka Shankar’s Grammy single ‘Those Words’ from the Grammy-nominated Love Letters EP. Ayanna also collaborated with and featured on Nitin Sawhney’s stunning single ‘Movement Variation II’ taken from his acclaimed recent album ‘Immigrants’.
2021 was a stellar year for Ayanna. Collaborating with Solem Quartet as part of their Beethoven Bartok Now series, she has also had her song ‘Draw the Line’, commissioned by The Hermes Experiment, and featured on their sophomore album ‘Songs’. Ayanna also featured on the track called ‘Flow My Tears’ with John Aram, the arranger for Phil Collins. The song is a slick, modern-day reimagining of English composer John Dowland’s 400- year-old music. That year saw Ayanna return to the live stage, headlining at London’s iconic Jazz Café and Kings Place. She made additional performances supporting Nubiyan Twist on their UK tour, participating in ‘Jazz Voice’ (the opening of the London Jazz Festival) at the Royal Festival Hall and a 22-date US tour with Opera superstar Andrea Bocelli.
In 2022, Ayanna continued her composition work with several commissions for ensembles and orchestras, including a Royal Philharmonic Society Commission for the Philharmonia Ensemble (‘Equinox’). Her talent saw her compose for the sold out, hit theatre production, ‘The Collaboration’, at London’s Young Vic Theatre, and composed additional music for the renowned documentary ‘Hostile’.
With two headlined shows at London’s Purcell Rooms, and a headlined show at Wigmore Hall featuring guest artists, Ayanna’s continues to inspire with her composition ‘FAIYA!’ performed by the LSO in Trafalgar Square (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle), and collaborating on a number of live performances with ‘Solem Quartet’ of her composition ‘Island Suite’, which was originally commissioned by them as part of their ‘Beethoven Bartok Now Part IV’ series.
Venturing into new territories, Ayanna was cast in a cameo role in the new Amazon Prime series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’, alongside greats such as Whoopi Goldberg, which airs in 2024. She is currently on tour (EU/UK/USA/Canada) with Peter Gabriel as a member of his band (voice, cello, piano) for his upcoming album i/o.
Ayanna is a performer of extraordinary versatility, due to her musical prowess, mesmerising vocals, non-compromising lyrics, and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello. Her must-see live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson is the very definition of eclectic soul.
Draw the line (2020)
Commissioned by the Michael Cuddigan Trust for soprano Heloise Werner and double bassist Marianne Schofield of The Hermes Experiment. Draw the Line is a duo for soprano and double bass. A song anchored by a driving, organically built bass part that reflects and explores the depth of sadness and frustration that arose between two friends, from different backgrounds, unified by the series of lockdowns in London 2020, yet divided as a result of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The vocal part, a lament with powerful lyrics that seek to explain the source of those feelings of frustration now brought to the surface. The raw energy of the uncompromising double bass part explodes in a demonstration of the pain of the conflict. ‘It’s your word against mine, every single time, every single time, we’ve got to draw the line’. The intensity of the story leads to a moment of release reflected in the middle section which features the passages of bass played harmonics. This release is, however, short lived. An understanding is never quite reached. “Losing a legacy based on abuse, choosing ignorance is no excuse” are lyrics that portray a tough reality that is hard to swallow. The main theme attempts to return with an explanation but ultimately, we have to just ‘Draw the Line’.
© Faber Music
HOLST Imogen, Cinquepace & Gigue from Suite for Unaccompanied Viola
Imogen Holst, the daughter of Gustav Holst, wrote this suite for viola in 1930, though the exact date is unknown. It was first performed on 14th December 1931 at the Ballet Club Theatre, 2a Ladbroke Road, London W11, by Violet Brough who was the viola player with the Macnaghten String Quartet. In this concert the Quartet and others performed Elizabeth Maconchy’s Quintet for Strings, a Haydn String Quartet, songs by Patrick Hadley and Philip Rosseter and also gave the first performance of a string quartet by Betty Lutyens.
In June 1932, Imogen Holst specially wrote out a fair copy of the work and gave it to her schoolfriend Leila Andrews as a wedding present. It bore the dedication “For Leila with love from Imo. June 1932”. It seems as though it was the copy of the work that was given as the gift, rather than the work itself. With her solo suite for violin, Imogen Holst appears to have given a number of copies of the work to different people with individual dedications on each. However, with the Suite for Viola, only Leila Andrews’ copy has come to light with a dedication.
The work is in four movements: Prelude, Cinquepace, Saraband & Gigue.
SHAW Caroline, The Ellipse from Plan and Elevation
Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, several Grammy awards, an honorary doctorate from Yale, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She has worked with a range of artists including Rosalía, Renée Fleming, and Yo Yo Ma, and she has contributed music to films and tv series including Fleishman is in Trouble, Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, and Beyonce’s Homecoming. Her favorite color is yellow, and her favorite smell is rosemary.
Plan and Elevation
I have always loved drawing the architecture around me when traveling, and some of my favourite lessons in musical composition have occurred by chance in my drawing practice over the years. While writing a string quartet to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks, I returned to these essential ideas of space and proportion — to the challenges of trying to represent them on paper. The title, Plan & Elevation, refers to two standard ways of representing architecture — essentially an orthographic, or “bird’s eye,” perspective (“plan”), and a side view which features more ornamental detail (“elevation”). This binary is also a gentle metaphor for one’s path in any endeavor — often the actual journey and results are quite different (and perhaps more elevated) than the original plan.
I was fortunate to have been the inaugural music fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in 2014-15. Plan & Elevation examines different parts of the estate’s beautiful grounds and my personal experience in those particular spaces. Each movement is based on a simple ground bass line which supports a different musical concept or character. “The Ellipse” considers the notion of infinite repetition (I won’t deny a tiny Kierkegaard influence here). One can walk around and around the stone path, beneath the trimmed hornbeams, as I often did as a way to clear my mind while writing.
© Caroline Shaw
ANDREW Kerry, Fruit Songs
Kerry Andrew is a London-based musician, and author. Her debut novel, Swansong, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018 and her second SKIN in 2021. She made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4 in 2014 with One Swallow and was shortlisted for the 2018 BBC National Short Story Award.
Kerry is the winner of four British Composer Awards and is best known for her experimental vocal, choral and music-theatre work, often based around themes of community, landscape and myth. She sings with Juice Vocal Ensemble and has released two albums with her band You Are Wolf: Hawk to the Hunting Gone (2014), a collection of avian folk-songs re-interpreted, and Keld (2018), inspired by freshwater folklore.
© David Higham Associates
I never treat a poem as a ‘straight’ setting: ‘mango’ is fairly schizophrenic in nature, with sections of percussive phonetics interspersed with sung chunks of the whole text. ‘plum’ is simpler, only picking out ‘forgive me’ as a refrain. In ‘blackberry’, I chose an 11-note row, with 1 quaver pitch to a syllable, which is then deconsructed. ‘cherry’ examines a range of extra-vocal techniques using only the word ‘Oh!’, and has a more theatrical interplay between singer and guitarist. For ‘apple’, I stripped down the Drinkwater poem to what I saw as its essentials. Particular musical influences for these songs include Björk, Meredith Monk, Sheila Chandra, English folk, Japanese, West African and Indian music.
© Kerry Andrew
PEEL Hannah, The Almond Tree
Mercury Prize, Ivor Novello and Emmy-nominated, RTS and Music Producers Guild winning composer, with a flow of solo albums and collaborative releases, Hannah joins the dots between science, nature and the creative arts, through her explorative approach to electronic, classical and traditional music
From her own solo albums to composing soundtracks like Game of Thrones: The last Watch, or to orchestrating and conducting for artists like Paul Weller, her work is ambitious, forward-looking, always adapting and re-inventing new genres and hybrid musical forms
Hannah is a regular weekly broadcaster for BBC Radio 3’s Night Tracks
© Hannah Peel
The Almond Tree
This is a track from Hannah Peel’s 2011 debut album The Broken Wave, which she described as a collection of songs covering themes ranging from “joy and hope of falling in love through to the pain and loss of betrayal.” In 2018 The Almond Tree featured in the opening episode of the Channel 4 / Netflix series Kiss Me First.
Hannah performing The Almond Tree in 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piZCfrpa9kE
MULLOV-ABBADO Misha, The Linden Tree
Award-winning, London-based jazz bass player, composer and arranger Misha Mullov-Abbado is a musician who combines great imagination with raw talent and a clear vision. A BBC New Generation Artist and with three critically acclaimed albums on Edition Records under his name, his most recent offering Dream Circus showcases his ‘melodic gift’ (John Fordham, The Guardian) and ability to masterfully combine beautifully-crafted compositions with free-spirited improvisation. Written over a three-year period the album, produced by fellow Edition Records bassist and bandleader Jasper Høiby (Phronesis), marks the arrival of an artist who has been on a voyage of self-discovery.
His aforementioned collective features some of the most exhilarating and sought-after young musicians in London and was formed during Misha’s final year at Royal Academy of Music. An experienced band-leader and versatile sideman, Misha regularly performs all over the UK and around the world, including at top London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, King’s Place and Royal Albert Hall. His vast musical travels have led him to work alongside inspiring musicians
such as Alice Zawadzki, Dave O’Higgins, Tim Garland, Viktoria Mullova, Enzo Zirilli, Sam Lee, Rob Luft, Paul Clarvis, Stan Sulzmann and Nessi Gomes.
A prolific composer and arranger in his own right, Misha embraces his jazz, classical, pop and folk influences and writes for a variety of jazz groups, as well as various classical soloists and ensembles. Commissions include work with the Hermes Experiment, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, LSSO, Hill Quartet, Pelleas Ensemble, NW Live Arts and BBC Radio 3, the latter of which commissioned his cello concerto which was premiered at London’s Southbank Centre by Matthew Barley and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
It’s only a matter of time before Misha seals his place on the international scene at the forefront of a new generation of European creative Jazz musicians.
The Linden Tree (2015)
Misha Mullov-Abbado’s The Linden Tree retains the familiar folksong-like lyrics but crafts a new melody and accompaniment. The flowing tune stays true to the bittersweet melancholy of the original, but the score also introduces a range of jazz and swing elements into the instrumental accompaniment, from a strolling pizzicato bass to the occasional quasiimprovisatory solo from the clarinet.
© Kate Wakeling (written for the Hermes Experiment’s album Here we are)
HALL Emily, I am happy living simply & the end of the ending
Emily Hall is a composer, known first and foremost for her songwriting.
Much of Emily Hall’s music is formed from close creative relationships with singers, instrumentalists and writers and finding her own ways of using technology and live performance.
She has written for the BBC Singers, Manchester Collective, London Sinfonietta, LSO, LCO, BBC NOW, the Brodsky Quartet, Opera North, LCO, Mahogany Opera, Hungarian Radio Choir, Aldeburgh Music, Streetwise Opera.
Emily has written 5 operas, none of which are traditional in form and many, many songs, including a trilogy of song cycles with author Toby Litt, on love (“Befalling”), motherhood (“Life Cycle”) and death (“Rest”).
Her music has been recorded by a multitude of artists including the BBC Singers, LSO, Allan Clayton, Olivia Chaney, Lady Maisery, The Hermes Experiment, Juice Vocal Ensemble and Onyx Brass.
Emily Hall is the recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, the Genesis Opera Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award and the Corinthia AIR.
Emily Hall is a member of Bedroom Community, the Icelandic record label and is signed to Manners Mcdade publishing.
I am happy living simply (2017)
The end of the ending (2017)
Emily Hall’s two songs I am happy living simply and The end of the ending (2017) set fragments of text by Marina Tsvetaeva (1892– 1941), a Russian poet renowned for both her creative and political daring. Tsvetaeva’s poems are deceptively simple and Hall’s artful settings in turn capture something of their ambivalence. I am happy living simply is at first an uncomplicated celebration of dwelling in the present, as conveyed by the buoyant tick-tock of the harp and a sweetly lilting melody in the voice. A more feverish energy begins to creep into the song, however, as repetitions of the text grow more hectic amid flashes of dissonance. As Hall describes it, Tsvetaeva’s injunction to live ‘simply’ can only be achieved by ‘regimenting ourselves into simplification … sacrificing the beauty of chaos which ultimately is impossible to keep out’. Time weighs more heavily in The end of the ending with harp and double bass meting out a solemn pulse beneath the plaintive vocal line. Only the clarinet offers something like consolation in its ascending scale at the song’s close.
© Kate Wakeling (written for the Hermes Experiment’s album Here we are)
MONK Meredith, Double Fiesta
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.
Celebrated internationally, Ms. Monk’s work has been presented at major venues throughout the world. Over the last six decades, she has been hailed as “a magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” In conjunction with her 50th Season of creating and performing, she was appointed the 2014-15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. Recently Monk received three of the highest honors bestowed to a living artist in the United States: induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2019), the 2017 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.
After graduating Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, Monk moved to New York City and began creating work in galleries, churches, and mostly non-traditional performance spaces. In 1968 she founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance. As a pioneer in site-specific work, she was the first artist to create a piece in the rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Juice, 1969), later reconstructing portions of the work for a new piece (Ascension Variations, 2009). Other site-specific pieces include American Archeology #1: Roosevelt Island (1994) and Songs of Ascension (2008) for visual artist Ann Hamilton’s tower. As a filmmaker, Monk has created several award-winning films including Ellis Island (1981) and her first feature, Book of Days (1988), which have screened at numerous film festivals worldwide and on PBS. The restored film of her seminal work, Quarry: An Opera in Three Movements (1976), is now available for streaming. Her films, installations and drawings have been shown in museums and galleries including Exit Art, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, in two Whitney Biennials, and at the Walker Art Center. Monk’s short films and several of her drawings are also included in the collection at MoMA.
In 1965, Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice and keyboard. In 1978 Monk founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical textures and forms. She has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and the highly acclaimed On Behalf of Nature (2016). Selected scores of her work are available through Boosey & Hawkes. In addition to her numerous vocal pieces, music-theater works and operas, Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Carnegie Hall, Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale, among others. In 2019 a new production of her work, ATLAS: an opera in three parts (1991), was directed by Yuval Sharon and presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her music can also be heard in films by such directors as Terrence Malick, Jean-Luc Godard, David Byrne, and the Coen Brothers.
Monk’s numerous honors and awards include the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, three “Obies” (including an award for Sustained Achievement), and two “Bessie” awards for Sustained Creative Achievement. More recently Ms. Monk was named one of National Public Radio’s 50 Great Voices, the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America, and an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. She also received a 2020 John Cage Award, 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award, a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, and an inaugural USA Prudential Fellow award in 2006. Monk holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, Boston Conservatory, Concordia University, Cornish College of the Arts, The Juilliard School, Lafayette College, Mount Holyoke College, San Francisco Art Institute, University of the Arts, and University of Hartford.
Among the many highlights of Monk’s performances from the last twenty-five years is her Vocal Offering for His Holiness the Dalai Lama as part of the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles in October, 1999. Several marathon performances of her work have taken place in New York at the World Financial Center (1991), Lincoln Center Music Festival (2000), Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (2005 and 2015), Symphony Space (2008) and the Whitney Museum (2009). In February 2012, MONK MIX, a cd of remixes and interpretations featuring 25 artists from the jazz, pop, dj and new music worlds was released. She is the subject of two books of interviews, Conversations with Meredith Monk, by arts critic and Performing Arts Journal editor Bonnie Marranca, and Une voix mystique, by French author Jean-Louis Tallon. Currently Monk is developing Indra’s Net, the third part of a trilogy of music-theater works exploring our interdependent relationship with nature, following the highly acclaimed On Behalf of Nature (2013) and Cellular Songs (2018).
Double Fiesta (1986)
I originally composed “Double Fiesta” in 1986 for solo voice and two pianos. In the piece, I explored a variety of vocal qualities and quick shifts of persona or character within the underlying relaxed but buoyant atmosphere created by the two pianos. “Double Fiesta” was originally part of Acts from Under and Above, a chamber piece presenting images of solitude and friendship.
© Meredith Monk