Björk (Left) Meredith Monk (Right)

Meredith Monk Documentary Produced by Björk

If you go to your local record store, you’ll find Meredith Monk and Björk in completely separate categories, but as you’re about to hear, they’ve got a lot in common. Born a generation apart, both women have gained a reputation for creating adventurous music for the human voice, work that has taken them beyond the concert stage and into the realms of theater, film, visual art, dance, and performance art. Over the course of this hour-long program, these two artists share personal stories and trade ideas about music alongside illustrative samples drawn from their extensive recorded catalogues.

It was during her days playing drums in an Icelandic punk band that the then 16-year-old Björk first heard Meredith Monk’s Dolmen Music and was entranced. Years later, after she covered Monk’s “Gotham Lullaby” on a world tour with the Brodsky Quartet, the two women struck up a correspondence, but they never had the opportunity to meet in person. Never, that is, until the American Music Center invited them into the studio to record this special presentation in 2005, hosted by pianist and radio producer Sarah Cahill.

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer, and creator of new opera, music theater works, films, and installations. A pioneer in extended vocal technique and interdisciplinary performance, Monk creates works that meet at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. During a career that spans more than 40 years she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts. Monk has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1995. In 1978 she formed Meredith Monk and 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. Her music has been performed by numerous soloists and groups including The Chorus of the San Francisco Symphony, Musica Sacra, The Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Double Edge, and Bang On A Can All-Stars.

On 11th September 2001, Björk performed live in Stuttgart (Germany) a cover of Meredith’s “Gotham Lullaby” with the Brodsky Quartet and dedicated it to the victims of USA tragedy.

In a 2005 podcast Björk told that she was 16 when first heard Meredith Monk’s Dolmen Music and was entranced. Years later, after she covered Monk’s “Gotham Lullaby”, the two women struck up a correspondence, but they never had the opportunity to meet in person. Never, that is, until the American Music Center invited them into the studio to record that podcast in 2005. That same year Björk performed at Carnegie Hall (NYC), on the occasion of Meredith’s 40-year career.

Meredith Monk and Björk

Steven Spielberg’s Jewish Story Partners foundation, which he and wife Kate Capshaw founded to help fund Jewish-themed documentary films, announced its first slate of grantees on Wednesday.

The 10 projects received a total of $225,000 from Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation and the Maimonides Fund, with extra help from the Jim Joseph Foundation.

“Meredith Monk: Dancing Voice, Singing Body” — Directed by Billy Shebar and David Roberts

The groundbreaking composer and choreographer, who has won the National Medal of Arts and a MacArthur grant, gets her own film. The pop legend Bjork is a co-producer.

Meredith Monk: Dancing Voice, Singing Body is a 90-minute documentary feature film on the life and career of Meredith Monk, acclaimed Jewish-American singer, composer, director, and choreographer, executive produced by Björk. The first comprehensive documentary of any kind on Monk, this project will trace modern American art history itself: the immortal echoes of a lost, defining ’60s culture, the cultural traumas of the 20th century upending the American art world, and an artist’s exacting vision contending with the 21st century’s end of authorship. Directors Billy Shebar and David Roberts will bring access to hundreds of archived Monk recordings, films, notes, performance and rehearsal footage, and will capture Monk as she leads the rehearsal process and performance of her upcoming landmark production Indra’s Net. Befitting Monk’s multimedia, genre-spanning legacy, groundbreaking animator Paul Barritt will interweave the archival and verité footage with acrobatic animated sequences.

HI, I'm Jason Leverenz. Longtime fan of Björk Guðmundsdóttir & music enthusiast. Also founding member of “Björk’s Joyous Tunes” Facebook group & YouTube Channel

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