Meredith Monk

Education - Workshops


Friday-Sunday, April 20-22, 2018
Meredith Monk
Voice as Practice: Instrument of the Heart
1440 Multiversity, CA
For more information and to register, click here.

The voice, the original human instrument, expresses an eloquent language of the heart that delineates energy for which we don’t have words. With careful instruction and supportive guidance from Meredith Monk—celebrated internationally for the last 50 years and hailed as “a magician of the voice”—in this workshop, you will tap into landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories that could not otherwise be expressed. This is a rare opportunity to uncover your unique voice with methods developed by a pioneering composer who is also a longtime Buddhist practitioner.

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We offer biannual workshops with members of the Vocal Ensemble, who are all master teachers and have been working with Meredith on average for thirty years.

Friday-Sunday, August 24-26, 2018
11am-1:30pm & 2:30pm-5:00pm
New York City

Workshop Fee: $350
Single Day: $130

With Tom Bogdan, Janis Brenner, Allison Easter, Andrea Goodman, Katie Geissinger and Workshop Coordinator, Pablo Vela*

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble consists of some of the finest and most adventurous singer/performers active in new music theater.  Reflecting diverse backgrounds and interdisciplinary approaches to performance, members past and present share Monk’s process for creating work.  Beginning with breathing techniques and a detailed vocal and movement warm-up, participants work with the voice and body as multifaceted instruments for exploring range, timbre, gesture, resonance, character, landscape and rhythm.  The work aims to uncover the fundamentals of performance as a vehicle for spiritual transformation.  Selected pieces from Monk’s repertoire will also be taught. 

*Please note, Meredith Monk does not teach during this program offered by The House Foundation. Teachers are also subject to change.


To find a balance of structure and spontaneity, freedom and form.
To begin to build the “feel” of an ensemble, both in rehearsal and performance.
To provide a springboard from which participants can discover and develop a personal viewpoint and means of expression.

More Info:

The workshop is open to all levels of performance experience.

Participants should wear clothing and shoes allowing for ease of movement.

14 Students Maximum.

Workshops may be filmed.


For a registration form, click here. Please complete and email registration form to by August 15, 2018. Acceptance into the workshop is on a first-come, first-served basis. Preference will be given to students able to attend all three days.

Friday, August 24
AM Janis Brenner
PM Tom Bogdan

Saturday, August 25
AM Allison Easter
PM Katie Geissinger

Sunday, August 26
AM Andrea Goodman
PM Pablo Vela

Janis Brenner’s session will include a brief physical warm-up, and a vocal warm-up with the teaching of a song to be sung in "round", then enhanced and transformed with movement. This will lead into movement/voice integration through structured improvisations and character development.

Tom Bogdan will deal with a simple approach to voice production and teach a basic tour of exercises to help with breathing, resonance, range and color. He'll also teach a round, do an improvisatory exercise and work on one of Meredith's pieces, Panda Chant II, Quarry Weave, or other.

Allison Easter will focus on movement integrated with singing; a movement warm up influenced by Laban/Bartenieff work and Irene Dowd, to improve clarity, strength and expressiveness in the body, singing in rounds. The session will include Monk repertory and creative work influenced by Quarry and A Celebration Service.

Katie Geissinger will lead an extensive vocal warm-up, exploring relaxation, breathing, flexibility, ease of production, and expressivity. The session will focus on canoning, hocketing, and voice and movement exercises. Participants will also work on small group improvisations using Monk repertoire.

Andrea Goodman’s class will focus on archetypal song, sound as metaphor, voice as a channel of healing and transformation, intention as creative muse, and the magic of vowels. Exploring the fine line between theater and ritual, we'll collectively create a simple healing ritual in sound.

Pablo Vela’s class will be devoted to Form in three-dimensional space: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, straight. Content and Meaning: movement/stillness, near/far, tight/loose, up/down, flat/full; and, last but not least, Style.


Janis Brenner is an award-winning dancer/choreographer/singer/teacher and is Artistic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers in N.Y. She has toured in 35 countries and is recognized as a "singular performer" with a multifaceted artistic range receiving numerous honors/grants from the US State Dept., The Trust for Mutual Understanding, Asian Cultural Council, The Fund for US Artists, and UNESCO, for tours in Russia, Indonesia, Senegal, Taiwan, etc. Janis joined Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble in 1990 for ATLAS, receiving a group "Bessie" award for The Politics of Quiet in 1997. She performs an acclaimed suite from Monk’s Songs from the Hill in concert and in 2009, revived Monk's seminal 1964 solo Break for JB&D’s NY season at Joyce SoHo. Her classes / workshops in technique, improvisation, choreography, repertory and voice have been taught throughout the world. She is currently on the faculty at Juilliard serving as Choreographic Mentor and Creative Process instructor, as well as creating and touring with JB&D. Her most recent work has taken her to Bosnia, Macedonia, Stockholm, and Singapore. After receiving a 2017 "Best Choreography" award from the United Solo Festival Off-Broadway, Ms. Brenner will premiere her interdisciplinary full-length solo, Inheritance: A Litany at the festival in October 2018.

Tom Bogdan teaches voice at Bennington College and has worked with Meredith Monk since 1991. Ms. Monk wrote New York Requiem especially for him. Bogdan has received critical acclaim for his performances in Concert, Opera, Recital, Cabaret and his own interdisciplinary pieces, L'Amour Bleu and Tell Me The Truth About Love, both produced by the Danspace Project, NY. Of his many recordings his favorites include Monk's ATLAS, Tom Bogdan's L'Amour Bleu, a gay celebration of love, and his For Your Delight with pianist Harry Huff. He has received Fulbright awards to teach Monk's A Celebration Service to students in Manila, Philippines, a Hungarian Ensemble in Budapest and in São Paulo, Brazil. Bogdan's new CD Hungarian Folk Songs by Bartók and Kodály is available on Centaur Records.

Allison Easter has worked with Meredith Monk since the 1985 revival of Quarry. As a member of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, she has sung on recordings, toured the US, Europe, Asia, received a “Bessie” Award for her work in The Politics Of Quiet, and directed the chorus of Quarry in the 2003 Spoleto Festival. She was the first American woman to appear in the Off-Broadway percussion sensation STOMP. She played Vengeance in Will Pomerantz’s A Tale Of Two Cities, Jerri Lewis in Tony Zertuche’s Anchors, Ms. Porgy in the feature Vacuums, Anita Chambers on Law & Order, and danced with Susan Marshall and Company receiving a special mention in The Village Voice. She has produced and directed original works at Ensemble Studio Theatre, the NY Fringe Festival, and has taught dance and performance at Bennington College, Naropa Institute, Marymount Manhattan College, Pace University, Sarah Lawrence, Horace Mann High School and NYU-Tisch. Allison has also taught through the Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble education program at Bard HSEC, LOMA (Lower Manhattan Arts Academy), and has staged the Folk Dance from Monk’s A Celebration Service in Syracuse NY, Budapest, Kiev and the Philippines, among others. .

Katie Geissinger has been performing with Meredith Monk since 1990, at festivals and venues worldwide, in concert, and in pieces such as ATLAS, The Politics of Quiet (for which she is a Bessie recipient), mercy, the Grammy-nominated impermanenceSongs of Ascension, On Behalf of Nature, and the currently touring Cellular Songs. She premiered Bang on a Can’s OBIE award-winning The Carbon Copy Building and performed in the second world tour of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach, which was revived in concert at Carnegie Hall. Other Carnegie Hall appearances include Bach’s Magnificat with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Witch in Honegger’s Le Roi David, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Katie has also appeared in Jonathan Miller’s staged productions of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at BAM, and in John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple at Lincoln Center. Her Broadway credits include Baz Luhrmann’s production of La Boheme and Coram Boy, and Off-Broadway she has appeared in many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.  Katie has premiered many new music theater pieces, including Mark Mulcahy and Ben Katchor’s The Rosenbach Company and Philip Miller’s The Hottentot Venus at MASSMoCA.  Her teaching experience ranges from choral work in Estonia and San Francisco to workshops at Naropa, Bang on a Can's new music institute at MASSMoCA, Oberlin, ETW at NYU, Berklee, the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, and LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Andrea Goodman is one of the original singers of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, appearing in theater pieces as well as concerts worldwide (1974-1991), in the films Ellis Island, Book of Days and Peter Greenaway's Four American Composers, and on five of Monk's albums, including Dolmen Music and Turtle Dreams. Living in Maine since 1989, Andrea works with Figures of Speech Theatre as singer, composer, music director, actress and puppeteer, most recently singing David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion for a theatrical production at Bates College. She and Anna Dembska also perform as Music of a New Frequency, an improvisational duo. Andrea recently sang in The Nubian Word for Flowers by author Ione and composer Pauline Oliveros, and previously in their opera, Io and Her. Andrea has taught voice privately and in workshops for 40 years, and over the last 28 years she has developed Cosmic Harmony, a class to transmit and facilitate vocal sound healing and the free flow of intuitive singing. An ordained minister/priestess since 1998, she is the founder of Ruby-Throated Spirit, Sanctuary, Studio and Labyrinth. Her CD, Divine Doorways with percussionist Gerry Hemingway features improvisations on Tarot archetypes. Andrea is the author of the book, Lightning Holds My Hand, A Woman's Journal of Guidance, and her poetry and essays appear in anthologies and journals.

Pablo Vela has been a member of Meredith Monk/The House since 1975, appearing in theater productions such as Quarry and Specimen Days and on film in Book of Days and Ellis Island. He was also Associate Director of Monk's opera ATLAS, American Archeology #1, and The Politics of Quiet. He received his theater training at Yale University and, in addition, studied with Viola Spolin (improvisation) and Jacques Lecoq (masks and mime). His work as performer/director/teacher has been presented throughout the United States and Canada as well as in Europe and Central America. Vela has created a series of memorable cabaret performances in New York City. The 11th Hour Lounge and Particular People (1 & 2) were performed in Manhattan, the latter at La MaMa ETC. WB Club WB (a tribute to film noir) and das MAX cabaret (inspired by the paintings of Max Beckmann) were presented at the fabled BACA Downtown in Brooklyn. Cocktail Cabaret, his latest creation, was shown at The Club/La MaMa. In the past, Vela has taught at institutions such as the Dell’Arte School in California and Denmark’s National Theater School.

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