currentpart of Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble’s current repertory

(top left, bottom right and middle) Julieta Cervantes (top middle and right) Stephanie Berger (bottom right) Steven Pisano

Cellular Songs (2018)

Cellular Songs is the second part of a trilogy of music-theater works created by Meredith Monk that explore our interdependent relationship with nature while seeking to evoke the ineffable. Following the celebrated On Behalf of Nature, which offered a liminal space questioning the precarious state of our global ecology, Cellular Songs turns attention inward to the very fabric of life itself. Joined by the women of her acclaimed Vocal Ensemble, Monk combines some of her most adventurous vocal music to date with movement, light, instrumental music and film, as well as a video installation designed specifically for each space. The work, at once playful and contemplative, draws inspiration from such cellular activity as layering, replication, division and mutation, and looks to underlying systems in nature that can serve as a prototype for human behavior in our tumultuous world. Conjuring cycles of birth and death throughout, Monk once again reminds us of her vitality as an artist who cuts to the core of experience, continuing to share the genius of her discovery and innovation.

Conceived, composed and directed by Meredith Monk
: Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Meredith Monk, Allison Sniffin, and girls from select children’s choruses
Music Meredith Monk
Costumes and Scenic Design Yoshio Yabara
Lighting Design Joe Levasseur
Sound Design Eli Walker
Video Scenarios/Direction Meredith Monk
Video Design Katherine Freer
Cinematography Ben Stechschulte
Developed in collaboration with Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Allison Sniffin, and Jo Stewart

Cellular Songs premiered at the BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY in March 2018, with subsequent performances at Diaghilev Festival, Perm, Russia; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; UCLA CAP, Los Angeles, CA; Stanford LIVE, Stanford, CA

For bookings, contact: Sarah Lerner, Executive Director

“Over 75 minutes, Ms. Monk spun together divergent elements so fluidly that it created an unmistakable sense of hope. It’s much easier to conceive of bridging public divides — or even containing multitudes, as an individual — when you witness a synthesis like the one created in Cellular Songs.”
-Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times, March 2018

Cellular Songs (excerpts), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2018)

Interviews with Meredith Monk about the development of Cellular Songs, while in residence at Grace Farms (2018)

Meredith Monk speaks about some of the origins and inspirations for Cellular Songs, during the work-in-progress showing at Queenslab (2017)


Bloodline Shrine (2018) is an accompanying video installation to Cellular Songs and typically travels with the live performance. For more information, please click here.


Cellular Songs has received developmental support through residencies at Grace Farms in New Canaan, CT (January 2018), at Wesleyan University (November 2017) and at Jim Hodges’ Queenslab (June 2017). 

Commissioning funds for the development of Cellular Songs were provided by the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Cellular Songs is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Goodale Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Howard Gilman Foundation, The James E. Robison Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, True North Fund, Dunlevy Milbank Foundation, Amphion Foundation, Hechinger Family Charitable Gift Fund, Jewish Communal Fund, and The Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Additional support from Cellular Songs Producers Circle: Roberta Amon, Haruno Arai, Katherine Bradford, Jonathan Caplan, Anthony B Creamer III, Molly Davies and Polly Motley, Dick Denison and David Salkin, Bobbie Foshay, Fredericka Foster, Gladstone Gallery, Katherine Goodale, Glenn Fuhrman, Augusta Gross, Agnes Gund, Jim Hodges, Steven Holl, Alex Katz, James Kelly, Katherine Klutznick, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Anthony Meier Fine Arts, Cole Rogers and Carla McGrath, Karen Nielsen, Laura Owens, Stephan Palma, Meredith Palmer, Lora Reynolds, Jonathan F. P. Rose, Jane Saks, Ruth Lande Schuman, Sheehan Gallery, Elynne Skove, and Frederieke Taylor.