her website: http://www.meredithmonk.org/
She was interviewed on BBC radio yesterday and described how, as a student mainly of dance and art, she was sitting at the piano one day and realised the voice was 'allowed' to try anything, and she never looked back! The interview linked above also describes some of this crucial moment in the 1960s.
Meredith Monk is primarily known for her vocal innovations, including a wide range of extended techniques, which she first developed in her solo performances prior to forming her own ensemble. In December 1961, she appeared at the "Actor's Playhouse" in Greenwich Village (NYC) as a solo dancer in an off-Broadway children's musical theater adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," entitled "Scrooge" (music and lyrics by Norman Curtis; directed and choreographed by Patricia Taylor Curtis). In 1964, Monk graduated from Sarah Lawrence College after studying with Beverly Schmidt Blossom, and in 1968 she founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance.
Monk's performances have influenced many artists, including Bruce Nauman, whom she met in San Francisco in 1968. In 1978 Monk formed Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble (modelled after similar ensembles of musical colleagues, such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass), to explore new and wider vocal textures and forms, which often were contrasted with minimal instrumental textures. Monk began a long-standing relationship with the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, which continues to showcase her work to this day. Pieces from this time include Dolmen Music (1979), which also was recorded for her first album released at Manfred Eicher's record label ECM in 1981.
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble- Program at LaGuardia H.S. 2010
Vocal Ensemble members Ellen Fisher and Katie Geissinger directed a 45-minute piece with students in the music, dance and theater departments of LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in May 2010. This was The House Foundation's second sponsored program. Excerpts can be seen here. Songs include "Quarry Lullaby", "masks" and "Panda Chant II" © Meredith Monk Music/ASCAP.
Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble - Dawn
from "Book Of Days"