Steve Reich (1936– )
How to say the name:
‘Reich’ is said like Rike. ‘Steve’ is easy to say!
3rd October 1936 in New York, New York, USA.
Type of Music:
A famous piece:
- Drumming. (See below for a video of the beginning of this piece.)
The music of this piece isn’t very well known. ‘Drumming’ is more famous for its reputation. It is simply an hour to an hour and a half of hitting drums, xylophones and other such intruments—with other things, such as whistling, thrown in sometimes!!
Some great pieces:
- Music for 18 Musicians. (See below for a video of the beginning of this piece.)
- Different Trains.
- The Cave (an opera).
- Double Sextet.
Some interesting facts:
- Many people say he is the greatest living American composer.
- Many people also say he has changed the course of musical history.
- He more or less invented ‘minimalist’ music. He is certainly the one of the main people to create the idea of minimalist music (as is Philip Glass).
- His music is influenced by jazz, as well as classical music.
- When he first started composing many people thought his music was crazy. He had to work as a taxi driver and a social worker to earn a living.
- He formed his own music group, Steve Reich and Musicians (also called the Steve Reich Ensemble), to play his music.
- He went to Ghana in 1971 to learn more about African drumming. When he came back he composed ‘Drumming’.
- His music is now very popular. Many people who listen to his music wouldn’t normally listen to classical music.
- His music has influenced many musicians, including rock bands.
- He has also worked with all sorts of musicians, including rock bands.
Here is a video of the beginning of Steve Reich’s Drumming. Notice how the drumming keeps changing little by little. Although the music is just drumming, if you stay watching you will see that it eventually becomes very exciting.
The beginning of Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’
The beginning of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’
Finally, here is Steve Reich in person talking about composing some Rock and Roll music!
Steve Reich himself talking about composing some Rock and Roll music!
There is another video of music by Steve Reich on the following news page:
- Steve Reich. This photograph was taken by Ian Oliver on 8th September 2006. It is part of a bigger photograph of Steve Reich and another person performing Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’ (by the way, you can see a video of this piece on the One Week—Three Great Live Music Events news page). The bigger image and the smaller one here may be used freely providing one credits the photographer. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
- Drumming Part 1 – Steve Reich [ Ensemble 64.8 ]. Drumming Part 1 – Steve Reich [ Ensemble 64.8 ].
- Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich – Beginning. Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich. First 10 minutes. Performed at Music08 Concert 13 on June 21, 2008.
- Steve Reich Does Rock & Roll. The radio station WNYC radio who posted this on YouTube on 9th December 2009 writes: The classical composer explains why his next project may raise some eyebrows.