Steve Reich | Offizielle Biografie

Biografie: Juli 2011 (Englisch)

Steve Reich
Steve Reich (Komponist)

Steve Reich was recently called “our greatest living composer” (The New York Times), From his early taped speech pieces It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) to his digital video opera Three Tales (2002), Mr. Reich’s path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but 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).

Born in New York and raised there and in California, Mr. Reich graduated with honours in philosophy from Cornell University in 1957. For the next two years, he studied composition with Hall Overton, and from 1958 to 1961 he studied at the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. Reich received his M.A. in Music from Mills College in 1963. During the summer of 1970, with the help of a grant from the Institute for International Education, Mr. Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra. In 1973 and 1974 he studied Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang at the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle and Berkeley, California. From 1976 to 1977 he studied the traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew Scriptures in New York and Jerusalem.

In 1966 Steve Reich founded his own ensemble of three musicians, which rapidly grew to 18 members or more. Since 1971, Steve Reich and Musicians have frequently toured the world, and have the distinction of performing to sold-out houses at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and the Bottom Line Cabaret.

Mr. Reich’s 1988 piece, Different Trains, marked a new compositional method, rooted in It’s Gonna Rain and Come Ou", in which speech recordings generate the musical material for musical instruments. In 1990, Mr. Reich received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains. Three Tales (2002) is a three act music theatre work in which historical film and video footage, video taped interviews, photographs, text, and specially constructed stills are recreated on computer, transferred to video tape and projected on one large screen. Musicians and singers take their places on stage along with the screen, presenting the debate about the physical, ethical and religious nature of technological development.

Steve Reich’s music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, The Ensemble Modern, the London Sinfonietta or the Schoenberg Ensemle. Moreover, several noted choreographers have created dances to Steve Reich’s music, including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Jirí Kylían, Jerome Robbins for the New York City Ballet and Laura Dean, who commissioned “Sextet”. That ballet, entitled “Impact,” was premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and earned Steve Reich and Laura Dean a Bessie Award in 1986.

In 1994 Steve Reich was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2008 and, in 1999, awarded Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

During his career, Steve Reich was awarded with several prestigious prizes as the Grammy Award (1990 and 1999), the Franz Liszt Academy and the Preamium Imperial award in Music in 2006 (important international award in areas in the arts not covered by the Nobel Prize), the Polar Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of music in 2007 or the Pulitzer prize in Music for his composition “Double Sextet” in April 2009.

Performing organizations around the world marked Steve Reich’s 70th- birthday year, 2006, with festivals and special concerts. In the composer’s hometown of New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center joined forces to present complementary programs of his music, and in London, the Barbican mounted a major retrospective. Stand: Juni 2011