Skip to page content

 

One of the first generation of minimalist masters, STEVE REICH (born 1936) studied drumming with Roland Kohloff, principal timpanist of the New York Philharmonic, and later composition at Juilliard and Mills College. He helped put together the premiere of Terry Riley’s In C in 1964, and a few months later completed It’s Gonna Rain, his seminal tape piece of looped speech fragments. His other influences ranged from John Coltrane to Ghanaian drumming and Balinese gamelan music, resulting in lively, pulse-oriented music of great color. The scope of his music ranges from the sound of clapping hands to full-length multimedia theater pieces.

Reich has been called “America’s greatest living composer” (The Village VOICE), “...the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker), and “...among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times). His music has influenced composers and mainstream musicians all over the world. Music for 18 Musicians and Different Trains have earned him two Grammys, and in 2009 his Double Sextet won the Pulitzer Prize. His documentary video opera works – The Cave and Three Tales, done in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot – have been performed on four continents. His Quartet, for percussionist Colin Currie, sold out two consecutive concerts at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London shortly after tens of thousands at the Glastonbury Festival heard Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead) perform Electric Counterpoint followed by the London Sinfonietta performing his Music for 18 Musicians. In 2012 he was awarded the Gold Medal in Music by the American Academy of Arts and letters. Earlier he won the Preamium Imperale in Tokyo, the Polar Prize in Stockholm, the BBVA Award in Madrid, and recently the Golden Lion at the Biennale de Venzia. He has been named Commandeur de l’ordre des arts et lettres and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Juilliard School, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others. “There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them,” states The Guardian.