Two new works by Steve Reich—Pulse and Runner—have received world premieres in New York and London during his 80th birthday season.
Pulse, scored for winds, strings, piano and electric bass, provided the centerpiece of Carnegie Hall’s all-Reich 80th birthday concert on November 1 (alongside performances of Quartet and Three Tales). The premiere in New York featured the combined forces of ICE, So Percussion, and Synergy Vocals conducted by David Robertson. In its review of the concert, The Guardian called Pulse “another contemporary Reich winner” and “a rapturous extended song—one with enough confidence to end with the feel of reverie.”
Following the New York performance, the work traveled to London for its UK premiere on November 5 with the Britten Sinfonia and Clark Rundell, presented as part of the Barbican’s “Reich at 80” series. In January, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group gives the West Coast premiere of Pulse at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Read the program notes for Pulse here.)
Reich’s ensemble work Runner, written for winds, percussion, pianos and strings, premiered at The Royal Ballet in London on November 10 in a new ballet, Multiverse, presented as part of Wayne McGregor’s 10th anniversary as Resident Choreographer. The Times called Runner “hopeful, harmonic, and healing” and The New York Times described it as “calmly luminous.”
Ensemble Modern and Brad Lubman have been premiering both Pulse and Runner (concert performance) on tour in Paris, Cologne, and Amsterdam. Runner receives its US premiere in January at Cal Performances with Lubman and Ensemble Signal, who will also bring the work to Carnegie Hall in fall 2017. (Read the program notes for Runner here.)