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Meredith Monk’s MEMORY GAME, as its title implies, is both a look back at a pivotal point in her storied career, and a richly layered portrait of how vocal music, under the guidance of an indefatigable master, can play with our expectations in poignant and compelling ways.
Teaming up here with her renowned Vocal Ensemble (featuring Theo Bleckmann, Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffin) and backed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Monk explores all-new arrangements of never-before-recorded selections from her award-winning sci-fi opera The Games, as well as new versions of several pieces originally released on Do You Be (1987) and impermanence (2008). What emerges from MEMORY GAME is a suite of songs that flows with a remarkable narrative cohesion, stemming in large part from the composer’s willingness to revisit the past with an insatiably curious eye.
“The first time that I ever worked with Bang on a Can, it was in the late ‘90s,” Monk tells DownBeat magazine in a recent interview. “That was really, in a way, the beginning of this project. It’s exciting to hear these songs again in a new way, with more of an instrumental aspect added onto the vocal.”
MEMORY GAME will be performed in its entirety at the 2020 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN (March 29), and at the inaugural Long Play Festival in NYC (May 1).
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Ashley Bathgate: cello and voice
Robert Black: electric and acoustic bass
Vicky Chow: piano, keyboard and melodica
David Cossin: percussion
Mark Stewart: electric guitar, banjo and voice
Ken Thomson: clarinets and saxophones