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Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension Shrine

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September 2, 2023 @ 5:30 pm

On Saturday, September 2, the CCA Cinema will host the premiere screening of Meredith Monk’s unique performance of Songs of Ascension Shrine featuring Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble, Todd Reynolds Quartet, and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble.

The split-screen version of the film will have its premiere at 5:30pm and then again at 7:30. We will host a Q&A following both film screenings so you will have an opportunity to talk with Meredith Monk, Dyanna Taylor, and the film’s editor David Aubrey.

About Songs of Ascension Shrine

In 2008, Songs of Ascension Shrine was performed inside Ann Hamilton’s tower in which a double helix staircase forms the stage. Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Dyanna Taylor (CCA board member) filmed and directed the original performance with multiple cameras with a 24-channel audio recording by sound engineer Fred Runner. Edited by David Aubrey and Taylor with the sound mix by Jody Elf in consultation with Monk and The House Foundation for the Arts. This team created a new state-of-the-art video version of Songs of Ascension Shrine that closely resembles the experience of the original performance.

The original site-specific performance remains the quintessential version but is currently inaccessible to the public outside of short video clips, which convey only a fraction of the beauty and impact of the piece in its idealized form. This new video has been created as an experiential installation for the museum/gallery context, bringing this vital work in its entirety to new audiences.

About Meredith Monk

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 extended vocal technique and interdisciplinary performance. Monk creates works 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.

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, New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and others. 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), two “Bessie” awards for Sustained Creative Achievement, and a 2020 John Cage Award. Monk holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Lafayette College, Mount Holyoke College, San Francisco Art Institute, and many others.

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