Meredith Monk

Education - Workshops


Friday-Sunday, December 16-18, 2016
Meredith Monk
Voice as Practice: Instrument of the Heart
Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY (one hour north of NYC)
For more information and to register, click here.

Meredith will be offering one of her rare and special workshops this December at the Garrison Institute in upstate New York, offering a place where voice, movement and image intersect to create an opportunity for participants to discover their own personal richness.

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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, January 27-29, 2017
11am-1:30pm & 2:30pm-5:00pm
New York City

Workshop Fee: $350
Single Day: $130

With Tom Bogdan, Janis Brenner, Allison Easter, Ellen Fisher, and Lanny Harrison*

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

For a registration form, click here. Please complete and email registration form to by January 20, 2017. Acceptance into the workshop is on a first-come, first-served basis. Preference will be given to students able to attend all three days.

A limited number of work study and full scholarship slots are available on a first-come, first served basis. In an effort to make these opportunities accessible to a wider segment of the population, The House Foundation will offer 2 low-income participants who reside in the 5 boroughs of NYC free admission to the workshops. To be considered, you will be asked to verify your home address and that your combined household income does not exceed $32,000 (60% of the NYC Median Household Income). For more information, please contact

Full Workshop (Three Days): $350
Single Day: $130

Friday, January 27
AM Ellen Fisher
PM Tom Bogdan

Saturday, January 28
AM Janis Brenner
PM Allison Easter

Sunday, January 29
AM Ellen Fisher
PM Lanny Harrison

Ellen Fisher’s session will be movement based, using some of Meredith's language of gestural shaping. There will be group improvisations as well as simple solo & group choreographic problem solving, using terminology of rituals, rites and trance dance.

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.

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.

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.

Lanny Harrison will focus on shape-shifting and transforming characters in changing landscapes and environments within solo, duo and trio forms, working predominately from a movement base. She will also touch on how Shambhala Buddhist practice can inform all theater work.

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.


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.

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 34 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, UNESCO, for tours in Indonesia, Senegal, Taiwan, Russia, 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 Julliard 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 Macedonia, Stockholm, and Singapore.

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 and the Philippines, among others.

Ellen Fisher’s performance art production combines gestural actions partnered with visual components such as film, video, shadow play, puppets and apparatus. Her performance work is informed by ethnographic research on the rituals and trance dance of South Asia. She began performing with Meredith Monk/The House in the ‘70s, in such works as The Plateau Series and Recent Ruins, and more recently has appeared in mercy, impermanence, Songs of Ascension and On Behalf of Nature. Fisher has also toured internationally with her solo performances. These works have been funded by NEA, NYFA, Jerome Foundation, Art Matters Inc. and the Asia Cultural Council. In addition to solo work, she continues to collaborate with community groups and other artists on intergenerational and intercultural projects. She and Katie Geissinger have also led the Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble education program involving New York City high school students since 2009.

Lanny Harrison has been a member of The House since 1969, playing many leading roles in Monk’s productions including recent performances of mercy and Quarry. Since 1966 she has performed in Off-Broadway musicals, films, theatrical duets and her own one-woman shows, which have toured internationally. She teaches theater at the Gallatin division of NYU, an ongoing workshop at the New York Shambhala Center (Characters in Motion), and intergenerational workshops at West Kortright Centre in upstate NY. She is a certified meditation instructor, and taught at Naropa University for many years. Since 2000 she has been a member of the Shambhala Arts team at the ALIA Institute in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has practiced Tibetan Buddhism as a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1973. She and Ms. Monk last co-taught a workshop with Acharya Judy Lief at Naropa in March 2013.

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. At the present time he teaches at the Trinity College/La MaMa Urban Arts Semester in NYC.