Steve Reich Celebrates 80th Birthday with His Works in New York, London and Paris

Steve Reich's 80th is celebrated with over 400 performances in more than 20 countries during the 2016-2017 season. With the birthday itself falling on October 3, this fall brings major series focuses in New York, London and Paris as well as first performances of his latest works.

One of the leading composers of the past half century, Reich lays genuine claim to directing musical history onto an alternative path, opening composition to influences beyond the central classical canon.

Reich combined his early experiments on tape loops and phasing patterns with his researches into African drumming and Balinese gamelan to create a radical new style, simple in materials yet complex in its intricate rhythmic patterning. The scope of his works grew through the 1970s to create era-defining scores such as Drumming and Music for Eighteen Musicians. In succeeding decades, he turned to recorded speech and documentary media to create Different Trains and his video operas in collaboration with Beryl Korot, including Three Tales.

All these works are surveyed in the retrospectives mounted by Carnegie Hall in New York, the Barbican in London and the Philharmonie in Paris. The world premiere of Pulse for winds, strings, piano and electric bass provides the centerpiece of the all-Reich concert at Carnegie Hall on November 1 with the united forces of ICE, So Percussion and Synergy Vocals conducted by David Robertson. The evening also includes a performance of Three Tales, his documentary video opera created with video artist Beryl Korot. Reich has also been named the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair for Carnegie Hall's 2016-2017 season, and has curated a series of concerts taking place throughout the season.

Reich describes Pulse as "a calmer more contemplative piece" than his recent Quartet, employing a fixed pulse and steady harmonies with varied accentuation coming from hand alternation patterns on the piano. After New York, the piece travels to London as part of the Barbican's Steve Reich at 80 series on November 5, followed by an Ensemble Modern tour to Paris and Cologne, with further performances in Amsterdam's ZaterdagMatinee series and in a Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella concert in January.

Runner is unveiled within a new ballet choreographed by Wayne McGregor at The Royal Ballet in London on November 10. Scored for a large ensemble of winds, percussion, piano and strings, the new work opens and closes athletically, with its five movements each employing different note durations in a distinctive Reich arch-form. European concert performances follow from Ensemble Modern with the US premiere by Ensemble Signal on the Cal Performances series in Berkeley on January 29. (Click here for additional information about Pulse and Runner.)

Additional anniversary celebrations hosted by Symphony Space, Miller Theatre, and San Francisco Symphony, who presents a week of concerts that culminates in a special birthday tribute on September 11 called "Steve Reich: An American Maverick." With Reich in attendance, guest artists eighth blackbird and the Kronos Quartet join Michael Tilson Thomas and members of the SF Symphony on a concert featuring Different Trains and Double Sextet.

On September 29, a unique open-air performance of Different Trains is staged at Edge Hill Station in Liverpool with members of the London Contemporary Orchestra and Sound Intermedia. The performance is paired with a newly commissioned film by American filmmaker and artist Bill Morrison, featuring archival film stock of train travel during WWII gathered from archives in continental Europe and the US.

For full information on Reich performances this year, visit

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