Steve Reich was invited as a Stamps Distinguished Visitor during the 2006-2007 season at the University of Miami Frost School of Music as one of the great musical thinkers of our time. He was recently 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). From his early taped speech pieces, It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966), to his and video artist Beryl Korot’s digital video opera, Three Tales (2002), Reich’s path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music but also the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. “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 (London).
A New York native, Reich graduated from Cornell University and studied composition at the Juilliard School of Music and Mills College. His 1990 Grammy Award-winning piece, Different Trains, marked a new compositional method, rooted in It’s Gonna Rain and Come Out, in which speech recordings generate the musical material for musical instruments. He won a second Grammy Award in 1999 for his piece, Music for 18 Musicians, and in July 1999, a major retrospective of Reich’s work was presented by the Lincoln Center Festival.
Over the years, Reich has received numerous awards and commissions from the Barbican Centre London; the Holland Festival; San Francisco Symphony; the Rothko Chapel; Vienna Festival; Berlin’s Hebbel Theater; the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Spoleto Festival USA, West German Radio, Cologne; Settembre Musica, Torino; the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; and many others.
Reich’s music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra; New York Philharmonic; San Francisco Symphony; the Ensemble Intercontemporain; London Sinfonietta; Schoenberg Ensemble; Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; Saint Louis Symphony; Los Angeles Philharmonic; BBC Symphony; and Boston Symphony Orchestra.