Indra's Net 

Conceived, Directed, and Composed by Meredith Monk

A black and white abstract image with eight human full human figures, spread evenly in three rows across a bright white field. The bodies are filtered as though they are a photo negatives, their postures vary from flat on the back arms and legs extended, to curled on their side. Elbows and knees are bent creating unique shapes. Image by Ben Stechschulte.

Meredith Monk’s newest interdisciplinary, evening-length music theater piece is an experiential performance work affirming the interconnectedness of life. 

Concert Recording 11/12/2021

Concert Recording 11/13/2021

Following On Behalf of Nature (2013), a plea for ecological awareness, and Cellular Songs (2018), which turned attention to the fabric of life itself, Indra's Net is Monk's third work in a trilogy dedicated to our relationship with the natural world.

In the ancient Buddhist/Hindu legend of Indra’s Net, an enlightened king, Indra, stretches a large net across the universe with an infinitely faceted jewel placed at each intersection. Each jewel is wholly unique yet reflects all the others, illuminating the interdependence of all living things—a particularly apt metaphor for our current times.

In a world that is so fragmented and full of sorrow, I want to create work that affirms life and our sense of connection to each other and to everything else.Meredith Monk

Initially set to premiere in November 2020 and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indra's Net premiere was on November 12 & 13, 2021 in a concert-version to a limited capacity audience in the Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California. Additionally, the presentations were made available via live-stream on the Mills Performing Arts website.

Indra’s Net featured an intergenerational and multi-cultural cast and designers including Meredith Monk, Paul An, Theo Bleckmann, Gideon Crevoshay, Allison Easter, Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, John Hollenbeck and Allison Sniffin. Joining Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble will be a chamber orchestra consisting of players mostly from the San Francisco Bay Area, including Jennifer Ellis, Tony Gennaro, Keefe Ismael, John Ivers, Nayoung Jung, Kyle Ko, Genevieve Kromm, Rhein Matlack, Yuki Nagase, Erika Oba, Shaina Pan, Nasr Sheikh, Jamael Smith, Julian Sommer, and Michiko Theurer. Designers include: Scenic and Costume by Yoshio Yabara, lighting by Joe Levasseur, and sound by Daniel Neumann.

The piece was workshopped at Mills College in Fall 2018 & 2019 with Bay Area musicians, at ArtLab at Harvard University in Spring 2020 and at Queenslab in Fall 2021.

Indra’s Net is made possible through the generous support of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, The National Endowment for the Arts, ArtLab at Harvard University, and Queenslab in Ridgewood, Queens. 

About Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique”. Celebrated internationally, her work has been presented at major venues around the world. Over the last six decades Ms. Monk has been hailed as one of National Public Radio’s 50 Great Voices and “one of America’s coolest composers”. Her numerous awards and honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from the Republic of France, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and a National Medal of Arts. Most of her music can be heard on the ECM label, including the Grammy-nominated impermanence. Since the early 2000s, Monk has been creating vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with recent commissions from the San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall where she held the 2014-15 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair in conjunction with her 50th Season of creating and performing.

Meredith Monk, from "On Behalf of Nature". Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Ellen Fisher, Bohdan Hilash, John Hollenbeck, Sidney Chen, Meredith Monk, Allison Sniffin, Katie Geissinger, and Bruce Rameker, from "On Behalf of Nature". Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Allison Sniffin, Jo Stewart, Meredith Monk, Katie Geissinger, Ellen Fisher from "Cellular Songs". Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Meredith Monk, Katie Geissinger, Ellen Fisher, Allison Sniffin, Jo Stewart, from "Cellular Songs". Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

About the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission

In 2017, Mills College received a $150,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of the foundation’s $8-million commissioning initiative, the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, the largest initiative of its kind in the United States.

The Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions was designed to support the creation of 50 original and exceptional works by globally recognized performing artists in partnership with Bay Area nonprofit organizations. Created in honor of the Hewlett Foundation’s 50th anniversary, these commissions will bring world-class talent to Bay Area audiences, with the intent of inspiring, engaging, and bringing together the local arts community.