TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 AT 8:00 PM WITH A PERFORMANCE OF THE
VIDEO OPERA THREE TALES WITH MUSIC BY REICH AND VIDEO BY BERYL KOROT
Program Also Features World Premiere of Reich’s New Work, Pulse, in addition to his
Quartet for Two Pianos and Two Vibraphones
Performers Include Conductor David Robertson, ICE, So Percussion, and Synergy Vocals
Carnegie Hall Has Named Steve Reich Holder of the Debs Composer’s Chair for the
2016–2017 Season with Performances of His Music and a Special Four-Concert Series,
Three Generations, Curated by the Composer in Spring 2017
|For the 2016–2017 season, Carnegie Hall has appointed Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Steve Reich to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair. Reich is acclaimed for his visionary style where rhythmic pulse, novel use of repetition, and ingenious contrapuntal explorations come together in new and daring ways. But his music cannot be pigeonholed; early on, he had a fascination with non-Western musical traditions, including Indonesian gamelan, African drumming, and Hebrew cantillation. Although he began his career as an avant-garde iconoclast, he has become one of the most respected composers of our time.
Reich’s season-long Carnegie Hall residency kicks off on Tuesday, November 1 at 8:00 p.m. with a concert in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage celebrating his 80th birthday. Highlights of the program are a performance of his and Beryl Korot’s groundbreaking video opera Three Tales and the world premiere of Reich’s Pulse, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its 125 Commissions Project. Also on the program is Reich’s Quartet for two percussionists and two pianists. Performers include ICE, So Percussion, Synergy Vocals, and conductor David Robertson.
Three Tales, premiered in 2002, uses historical film and video footage, videotaped interviews, photographs, text, and music performed by 16 musicians and singers to recall three well-known events from the early, middle, and late 20th century: Hindenburg, Bikini, and Dolly. Each of these reflects on the growth and implications of technology from early air transport (the Hindenburg zeppelin disaster) and world wars (the atom bomb tests at Bikini Atoll) to ethical debates about the future of our species (as reflected in the cloning of the adult sheep Dolly in 1997).
Reich describes his new work Pulse as, in part, a reaction to his Quartet from 2013, also heard on this program and also a Carnegie Hall co-commission. In the Quartet, Reich changed keys more frequently than any previous work, but he says, “In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically, and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer and more contemplative piece.”
In spring 2017, Reich returns to Carnegie Hall to curate Three Generations—a four-concert series that explores how the language of composition changed from the mid–20th century to the present day by pivoting from serial atonal music toward a more harmonic and rhythmic style led by Reich and his peers. The four concerts trace the development of a new music, from the pioneering generation of Reich, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, John Adams, and Arvo Pärt; to David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon—the composers associated with the Bang on a Can collective; and on to younger innovators such as Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner. Featured performers in the series include Ensemble Signal, Bang on a Can All-Stars, JACK Quartet, and more. Each concert will include a conversation with Reich and some of the other featured composers. See below for dates and complete programs.
Other performances of Reich’s music during Carnegie Hall’s new season include Kronos Quartet performing the Triple Quartet from 1998, and American Composers Orchestra in the 1981 work Tehillim, the first major work in which Reich explores his Jewish heritage.
The 2016–2017 season marks Reich’s 80th birthday, with over 400 performances in more than 20 countries across the globe celebrating his music and legacy. Two new works receive world premieres in fall 2016: the aforementioned Pulse, and Runner, which is performed at London’s Royal Ballet accompanied by new choreography by Wayne McGregor. Several presenters have announced special concert series and residencies to honor his anniversary, including Lincoln Center, San Francisco Symphony, the Barbican in London, and Tokyo Opera City, in addition to Carnegie Hall.
Reich’s musical legacy has been influential on composers and mainstream musicians all over the world. His music is known for steady pulse, repetition, and a fascination with canons; it combines rigorous structures with propulsive rhythms and seductive instrumental color, and also embraces harmonies of non-Western and American vernacular music (especially jazz). His studies have included Balinese gamelan, African drumming (at the University of Ghana), and traditional forms of chanting of the Hebrew scriptures, in addition to his studies at Cornell University, the Juilliard School, and Mills College with Luciano Berio.
Different Trains and Music for 18 Musicians have each earned Grammy Awards, and Double Sextet won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
Reich’s documentary video opera works—The Cave and Three Tales, done in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot—have pushed the boundaries of the operatic medium and have been presented on four continents.
Reich’s music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the San Francisco Symphony; the London, Sydney, Boston, and BBC Symphony Orchestras; the London Sinfonietta; Kronos Quartet; Ensemble Modern; Ensemble intercontemporain; Bang on a Can All-Stars; Alarm Will Sound; and eighth blackbird. Several noted choreographers have created dances to his music, such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Jirí Kylián, Jerome Robbins, Wayne McGregor, Justin Peck, and Christopher Wheeldon.
Reich was awarded the Gold Medal in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012. He was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, as well as member in the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. His honors include the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, the BBVA Award in Madrid, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, the 2016 Nemmers Prize in Music from Northwestern University, as well as the Schuman Prize from Columbia University, the Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College, and the Regents’ Lectureship at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music in London, the Juilliard School, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others.
Born in New York and raised there and in California, Reich graduated with honors 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 with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. Reich received his master’s degree in music from Mills College in 1963, where he worked with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud.
Program Information: Steve Reich 80th Birthday
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
ALL-STEVE REICH PROGRAM
Sponsored by DeWitt Stern, a Risk Strategies Company
Program Information: Three Generations, Curated by Steve Reich
Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
JOHN ADAMS Shaker Loops
Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich and John Adams
Tickets: $64, $76
Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
ARVO PÄRT Für Alina
Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich and Nadia Sirota, host of Q2 Music’s Meet the Composer podcast
Tickets: $64, $76
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
DAVID LANG cheating, lying, stealing
Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon
Tickets: $64, $76
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
BRYCE DESSNER Tuusula
Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich, Bryce Dessner, and Nico Muhly
Tickets: $64, $76
Program Information: Additional Performances of Music by Steve Reich
Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
KALA RAMNATH Amrit (arr. Reena Esmail) (co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
Tickets: $60, $71
Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
ORCHESTRA UNDERGROUND: PAST FORWARD
STEVE REICH Tehillim
Tickets: $43, $51
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Public support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
Steve Reich is the holder of the 2016–2017 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Image of 2002 performance of Three Tales by Ensemble Modern and Synergy Vocals. Photo credit: Wonge Bergman.