Hailed as “outstanding,” with a “street-smart, feline voice” (The New York Times), Meaghan Burke is a cellist, vocalist, and composer working in the space between contemporary music, improvised music, and songwriting. Meaghan’s songwriting melds contemporary sonic aesthetics with her “velvety-dark” (Dusted Magazine), jazz-inflected voice and an old-fashioned approach to storytelling to produce “impossibly beautiful but in no way forgiving” songs (The Deli) which “skitter along the boundary between archaic pop and free-wheeling art song.” (Dusted) Meaghan has released two albums of her songs: the lush chamber folk of “Creature Comforts” in 2017, and her stripped-down debut “Other People’s Ghosts” in 2010.
Meaghan is a founding member of The Rhythm Method, a contemporary, feminist, “trailblazing” quartet of “skillful composer performers” (The New Yorker) praised for its “stunning displays of fearsome extended technique and fearless programming.” (New York Music Daily) She’s also the lead singer and cellist of avant-grunge band Forever House, whose debut album, Eaves was released on Infrequent Seams in November 2018. Her collaboratively composing performance trio, Dead Language, explores the use of objects and toys as well as classical instruments in order to deconstruct ideas of “serious music” and “entrepreneurship.” She is also a founding member of the Viennese songwriter collective Loose Lips Sink Ships, who released their debut self-titled album in 2017.
Some of Meaghan’s recent performance highlights have included: debuting the role of Valerie Ann Price, an academic-turned-would-be-killer in Alex Temple’s “brilliantly zany” time travel monodrama Three Principles of Noir at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra; presenting the inaugural program of The Rhythm Method’s “Hidden Mothers Project,” an initiative to shed new light on little-known works by historical women composers; joining a hand-picked selection of NYC’s best women improvisers for an evening of Cobra performances with John Zorn at National Sawdust; and performing as part of the Muhal Richard Abrams Trio with the late, great pianist-composer himself.
This season, Meaghan has been commissioned by the Austrian Cultural Forum NYC, Chartreuse string trio, and the Byrne:Kozar Duo, and recently premiered her first vocal-less work for/with The Rhythm Method. She will also be writing liner notes for the upcoming album by new music duo andPlay, and her translation of the Collected Writings of Peter Ablinger will be published by Kehrer Verlag next year.
Meaghan is also an avid educator: in addition to maintaining a private studio, she teaches cello, improvisation, and contemporary music appreciation at the North Carolina Governor’s School West, and strings classes/orchestra at P.S. 9 in Manhattan. Meaghan holds degrees from the Contemporary Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music, Music and Arts University of Vienna (MUK), and Yale. Her primary cello teachers have included Fred Sherry, Bernard Greenhouse, Christoph Stradner, and Ole Akahoshi.