Meredith Monk's On Behalf of Nature Blends Music and Movement with Artistry and Ecological Consciousness

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

College Park, MD – Iconic interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk comes to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 4 at 8:00pm to present her newest music-theatre work, On Behalf of Nature.

Setting out to explore the connection between humankind and nature, Monk and her group, Vocal Ensemble, allow their bodies to become instruments of both music and communication. Monk evokes the Buddhist idea of the human body as a conduit joining heaven and earth, crafting a sublime work inspired by environmental activism, cross-discipline performance art, and the Earth itself.

Join the artists for a post-performance discussion immediately following the show. In addition, Monk and a panel of other artists and activists will be leading a discussion of science, art and spirituality at the Center on April 29 at 7:30 pm.

About on Behalf of Nature 

On Behalf of Nature is a poetic meditation on the environment that draws additional inspiration from writers and researchers who have sounded the alarm on the precarious state of our global ecology. Monk and her acclaimed Vocal Ensemble create a liminal space where human, natural and spiritual elements are woven into a delicate whole, in order to illuminate the interconnection and interdependency of us all.

A departure from her 2012, highly acclaimed composition Realm Variations for vocalists and instrumentalists, On Behalf of Nature premiered on January 18, 2013 at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. Monk created the piece in the attempt to answer the question, “What can an artist do on behalf of nature?” Consequently, Monk makes conscious decisions to conserve and conjure nature within the work. Beyond the music and instruments that support this intent, the costumes are crafted from performers’ old clothes, and the oscillating graphics projected on a video backdrop suggest various natural landscapes.

About Meredith Monk

A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance”, Monk creates works that thrive 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. Over the last five decades, she has been hailed as “a magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers”. Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented by BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Among her many accolades, she was recently named 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America and one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices, and received a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.


More information can be found on our website. Tickets for this performance are $35/$10 (Students/Youth), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is a collaborative space shared by the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The Clarice Smith Center presents performances and programs by visiting artists as well as by students and faculty of SOM and TDPS in an environment of creative learning, exploration and growth. A national model for a performing arts center on a major research university campus, the Center enables innovative partnerships and extraordinary experiences.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.