Steve Reich Portrait

Short Bio

Steve Reich has been named “among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times).”the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker), and “America’s greatest living composer” (Village Voice). Starting in the 1960s, his pieces Come Out, Drumming, Music for 18 Musicians, Tehillim, Different Trains, and many others helped shift the aesthetic center of musical composition worldwide away from academic over complexity and towards welcoming back pulsation and tonal attraction in completely new ways. He continues to influence younger composers, musicians, choreographers and even visual artists.

Double Sextet won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 and Different Trains, Music for 18 Musicians, and an album of his percussion works have all earned GRAMMY Awards. He received the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge award in Madrid, the Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, and the Gold Medal in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France , and awarded honorary doctorates by the Royal College of Music in London, the Juilliard School in New York, and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, among others.

One of most frequently choreographed composers, several noted choreographers have created dances to his music, including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Jirí Kylián, Jerome Robbins, Justin Peck, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, and Christopher Wheeldon.

Reich’s documentary video opera works—The Cave and Three Tales, done in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot—opened new directions for music theater and have been performed on four continents. His recent work 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. “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,” The Guardian