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  • richardmitnick 12:56 PM on November 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Music for Ensemble and Orchestra", , , Steve Reich   

    From The New York Times: “Steve Reich Talks About His First Orchestral Work in 30 Years” 

    New York Times

    From The New York Times

    Nov. 7, 2018
    Joshua Barone

    Steve Reich by Chris Felver/ Getty Images


    The composer Steve Reich, whose Music for Ensemble and Orchestra recently had its premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The 82-year-old composer overcame his reservations to write Music for Ensemble and Orchestra.

    Until last week, Steve Reich hadn’t written for orchestra in over 30 years.

    It took a Bollywood movie and an open-minded commission, but he’s back: Music for Ensemble and Orchestra recently had its premiere here with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and will travel to the New York Philharmonic next fall. A recording from Nonesuch is also on the way.

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra by Mathew Imaging

    “I’m someone who writes for ensemble,” Mr. Reich, 82, said in an interview at his Los Angeles hotel over the weekend. He has been most acclaimed for intimate works like Music for 18 Musicians and Double Sextet, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. His next premiere, a collaboration with the visual artist Gerhard Richter for the Shed in New York, is for 14 players.

    The last time he wrote for larger orchestral forces was in 1987, with Four Sections. In his return, Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, Mr. Reich has found a way to maintain his ensemble sensibility — the commission gave him the freedom to give the piece whatever form he wanted — while also paying homage to the Baroque concerto grosso and one of his favorite works, Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto No. 5.

    The five-movement new work is a sequel of sorts to Mr. Reich’s 2016 chamber piece Runner, whose rhythm was inspired by the music of a Bollywood film he watched with his wife, the artist Beryl Korot. Music for Ensemble and Orchestra retains much of that piece’s structure and adds a slight harmonic backdrop from the orchestra.

    A group of 20 soloists — including principal players and vibraphones, as well as two pianos that keep time throughout the piece — begin with propulsive 16th notes that recall the opening of Runner. At times, the cellos and basses have the texture of Baroque continuo accompaniment. But the most explicit tribute to Bach comes roughly five minutes in, when the first-violin soloist plays a scale reminiscent of the broken D major scale that opens the Fifth Brandenburg.

    “It’s my little tip of the hat,” Mr. Reich said.

    In the interview, he discussed his reservations about writing for orchestra and explained the relationship between Runner and his latest work. Here are edited excerpts.

    Why have you resisted writing for orchestra?

    I didn’t really have a desire. My experience with the orchestra goes back to the ’80s, with The Desert Music. And it was a disaster in Cologne. The musicians couldn’t play it, and Peter Eotvos, who was the conductor, at one point said, “What can I do?”

    Eventually it was done with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, with 36 hours of rehearsal and my people thrown in as ringers. And it was great. But I realized this was a freak situation; this is not how orchestras work.

    When I was thinking about this [new piece], I was at the L.A. Phil, and I started looking at the setup. They have the principal strings in a very tight horseshoe. And right behind, the principal winds. I thought: There’s my ensemble. Add some vibes, a couple of pianos, I’m home free. And I thought that if you give the orchestra a straightforward part, you can devote the rehearsal time to the principals.

    Even if the orchestral part were more complicated, I feel like your music comes more naturally to players these days. What changed?

    As a composer, time is on your side if you continue living. I’ve been fortunate in that the works have been performed frequently and recorded. A lot of people have heard a lot of my music, which makes it infinitely easier to deal with them. Eventually you’re not going to be around, so either the music is appreciated and will live, or it’s not. I think a lot of my ensemble pieces are.

    How do you feel about orchestral music as a listener?

    I don’t go to many orchestral concerts at all. There are those like Andrew Norman and John Adams — who is, in a sense, sui generis. I think John is the only person I can say confidently, “This man is writing music that will be in the orchestral literature in the future.” Whereas the ensemble, to me, is the center of musical life that I live in.

    Can you describe how Runner relates to Music for Ensemble and Orchestra?

    That’s a piece that I think I really, after Double Sextet, hit out of the park. And part of it was the structure. Five movements really worked for me. I do a lot of fast, slow, fast — me, Scarlatti and 500 other people! But five is more challenging, and I also thought, What if the tempo never changed, but the note values changed, and that’s how you set off movements?

    I thought, Gosh, this is really nice. This is such a great structure, I’m going to try it again. It’s the same ensemble, plus the string section and four trumpets. I was a little worried. Is it really better the second time, or is a whole lot worse? I tend to be a worrywart, to see only the bad. But I’m leaving here in a much more positive frame of mind.

    So will there be a Runner 3?

    No, no, no. Don’t push your luck.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 11:10 AM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Drumming at 50, NEXUS, , Steve Reich   

    From Sō Percussion: “DRUMMING at 50” 

    So Percussion in performance

    From Sō Percussion

    Video Recording of Steve Reich’s DRUMMING with NEXUS, Sō Percussion, and Friends.

    Hello friends,

    Nexus and Sō Percussion are so excited to join together to make a historical video recording of Steve Reich’s Drumming. It is such a rare opportunity to gather up two of the world’s best percussion groups to celebrate Drumming turning 50 years old. This fabulous team includes Nexus, Sō, Yumi Tamashiro, Daisy Press, Beth Meyers, and Alex Sopp. We are asking you to join us in this historical event by contributing what you can to make this project come to life! We need money to cover the cost of making the video recording (video, audio, and record label production).

    1
    Nexus. Silvia pasquetto

    As some of you might know, Russell Hartenberger and Bob Becker are both original members in Steve Reich and Musicians–a group which Reich himself performed in, premiered the majority of the Reich repertoire, and toured the world together for decades. Russell and Bob learned Drumming directly from Reich and for us who have heard them in concerts, we can attest to that fact that they have perfected the art of phasing! The earlier renditions of Drumming were mostly taught by rote; Russell and Bob were among the most important figures for establishing the piece as a part of the percussion repertoire and have carried the torch of imparting wisdom on this work in the past five decades.

    NEXUS, a Canadian cultural icon, is Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Russell Hartenberger, and Gary Kvistad. Described by the New York Times as the “high priests of percussion”, NEXUS is “widely recognized as one of the most influential percussion ensembles to have emerged in the post-war period”.

    With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and vital role of the modern percussion ensemble.

    Together, this world-class line up is going to make history and we invite you to be part of this history making project. Your donation is what makes this possible.
    Risks and challenges

    We have already filmed the project and editing is under way. We have the commitment from Cantaloupe Records to release the album as part of a larger recording project; this is of course wonderful, but the actual cost of production is not covered by the agreement.

    We are slightly worried that no one will own DVD players by the time this DVD is ready to be released so we are also looking at other formats of release to make sure that people are able to view the recording when it hits the market.

    Since this project involves 12 players, video team, and audio team, the cost of making this recording is higher than just making an audio recording. We are hoping that we can raise enough money to cover costs.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The “artist”

    Adam Sliwinski has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2002. Adam is particularly interested in keyboard instruments, especially marimba and piano.

    Eric Cha-Beach has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2007-A consummate percussionist he loves to learn new instruments like the musical saw integrating them into diverse setups

    Jason Treuting is a founding member of Sō Percussion- Jason has pioneered an innovative drum set practice within the new music sphere. He is also a composer.

    Josh Quillen has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2006- Josh is an expert Steel Drum artist having studied in Trinidad and immersed himself in Steel Band culture.

    Our Mission:

    Sō Percussion is a percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students, while providing meaningful service to its communities, in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.
    Our Vision:

    To create a new model of egalitarian artistic collaboration that respects history, champions innovation and curiosity, and creates an essential social bond through service to our audiences and our communities.
    Ensemble Bio:

    Sō is: Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

    With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and vital role of the modern percussion ensemble.

    Sō’s repertoire ranges from “classics” of the 20th century, by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including vocalist Shara Nova, electronic duo Matmos, the groundbreaking Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, choreographer Shen Wei, and composer and leader of The National, Bryce Dessner, among many others.

    Sō Percussion also composes and performs their own works, ranging from standard concert pieces to immersive multi-genre programs – including Imaginary City, Where (we) Live, and A Gun Show, which was presented in a multi-performance presentation as part of BAM’s 2016 Next Wave Festival. In these concert-length programs, Sō Percussion employs a distinctively 21st century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art, into a powerful exploration of their own unique and personal creative experiences.

    Rooted in the belief that music is an essential facet of human life, a social bond, and an effective tool in creating agency and citizenship, Sō Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach. Examples include their Brooklyn Bound presentations of younger composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and leading their SōSI students in an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 25,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization EndHungerNE.

    Sō Percussion is the Edward T. Cone Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University, where they offer educational work and present an annual series of concerts. They are also Co-Directors of the percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music, and run the annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI, now in its ninth year), providing college-age composers and percussionists an immersive exposure to collaboration and project development.

    One of the first things any group needs is a name. When our group was founded in 1999, we cast far and wide among our friends and family for suggestions. The winner was this simple, short word offered by Jenise Treuting, Jason’s sister.

    Jenise has been living and working in Japan as an English-Japanese translator for 20 years. The word “Sō” was punchy, enigmatic, and memorable.

    “The Sō in Sō Percussion comes from 奏, the second character in the compound Japanese word 演奏 (ensou), to perform music. By itself, so means “to play an instrument.” But it can also mean “to be successful,” “to determine a direction and move forward,” and “to present to the gods or ruler.” Scholars have suggested that the latter comes from the character’s etymology, which included the element “to offer with both hands.” 奏 is a bold, straightforward character, but lends itself to calligraphy with a certain energy that gives so a springy, delicate look.”

    – Jenise Treuting

    John Schaefer

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 3:46 PM on April 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Steve Reich   

    From Bang On a Can: “Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival 2018” 

    Bang On a Can is the original DIY New Music Organization

    Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival 2018

    Brilliant musicians and composers inhabit the MASS MoCA campus from July 12 – July 28 for three rollicking weeks of innovative, unexpected, and ear-expanding music.

    The annual festival includes daily performances in the museum galleries (free with museum admission), a concert with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and concludes with a six-hour blow-out Marathon Concert performed by the festival ensembles and special guests. The festival also features African and Latin music workshops, late-night concerts, free events in North Adams, and more. This year features special festival guest composer Louis Andriessen.

    Louis Andriessen

    Bang On A Can All-Stars

    Bang on a Can Marathon with

    Steve Reich

    The best way to Bang is with a MASS MoCA membership, which offers free gallery admission and $5 concert tickets.

    Learn more about Bang on a Can.

    This program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    See the full article here.

    Bang On A Can David Lang- Michael Gordon- Julia Wolfe © Peter Serling

    Bang On A Can All-Stars Members Ashley Bathgate, cello
    Robert Black, bass
    Vicky Chow, piano
    David Cossin, percussion
    Mark Stewart, guitars
    Ken Thomson, clarinet

    Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today.

    Together, the All-Stars have worked in unprecedented close collaboration with some of the most important and inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Burmese circle drum master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more. The group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittova, Thurston Moore, Owen Pallett and others. The All-Stars were awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Current and recent project highlights include the touring performances and recording of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields for the All-Stars and guest choir, the record release of Wolfe’s acclaimed Steel Hammer, featuring Trio Mediaeval, plus a moving theatrically staged collaboration with SITI Company and director Anne Bogart; Field Recordings, a major multi-media project and CD/DVD now featuring 30 commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Anna Clyne, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Christian Marclay, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Julia Wolfe, and more; the Lincoln Center Festival 2017 world premiere of Cloud River Mountain, a new collaboration featuring Chinese superstar singer Gong Linna; the world premiere performance and recording of Steve Reich’s 2×5 including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall, and much more. With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group’s distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right. The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal and Nonesuch.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 5:33 AM on October 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Steve Reich   

    From NPR/music: A Consideration of Steve Reich 

    i1

    Gail Wein
    October 16, 2011

    Musicians who have worked with Reich, NPR staffers and others reflect on his compositions.

    “American composer Steve Reich turned 75 this week. The so-called minimalist credits jazz, African drumming and Balinese gamelan for inspiring his signature style. His music, from experimental tape loops to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet, has inspired the generations of composers who followed.

    In the early 1960s, when Reich was beginning his composition career, the contemporary classical music scene was dominated by atonal music like the works of Pierre Boulez.

    ‘It fell to my generation to basically say, Basta! Enough!’ Reich says.

    Composer David Lang says he first heard Reich’s It’s Gonna Rain on an LP he came across at the record store where he worked.

    ‘I had never been prepared to hear anything like this,’ Lang says. ‘It didn’t have a melody; it didn’t have harmony, at least the way I had been prepared to understand it; it didn’t have a way of progressing. And I remember thinking, This is the coolest thing I ever heard in my life. I was 17 years old. I started thinking, the role of the composer is to experiment and explore and to find something new.’

    Reich’s music became hugely influential, and not just for Lang. Artists such as Brian Eno, David Bowie and The National’s Bryce Dessner, as well as practitioners of hip-hop and house music, all owe something to the composer.

    ‘For a lot of musicians like myself, I think Steve Reich’s appeal is quite broad, and in a way just to open this big space for musicians to move in,’ says Dessner, who is also a classical guitarist and composer.

    But Washington Post critic Tim Page says it’s not just Reich’s past music that intrigues his fans.

    ‘One of the things that’s really sort of extraordinary about Steve Reich is that he’s 75, and yet he’s still to whom everybody looks with great interest to see what he’ll do next,’ Page says. ‘And that’s a rarity — especially a rarity with a very radical composer.’

    Reich himself is always looking forward. He says his 75th-birthday wish has already come true.

    ‘That young musicians around the world want to and actually do play my music very well,’ he says, ‘and to go around and hear that, in reality, is the best present a composer could ask for.’

    This article is here.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:08 AM on October 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Steve Reich,   

    From Q2 Music: Steve Reich on Steve Reich 

    i1

    The Always Young, Maximalist Icon Discusses his Catalogue

    sr

    Essay text from Daniel Stephen Johnson

    “His earliest acknowledged works, so austerely composed that they resemble conceptual art as much as classical music, contain the seeds of nearly his entire oeuvre: repeated chords or melodies slowly stretched out into long drones (in pieces like Four Organs, 1970); staccato rhythms that drift out of phase (e.g., Piano Phase, 1967); recorded speech used as melodic material (Come Out, 1966).

    Like his contemporary and admirer Philip Glass, Reich originally composed his music for his own, highly specialized ensemble, arguably culminating in the lengthy Music for 18 Musicians (1974-1976). But, like Glass, as his reputation grew at the end of the 70s, he began to accept commissions to write for established ensembles. Reich is now hesitant to embrace his own music for the massed forces of the symphony orchestra, especially the Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards (1979) — which is nevertheless a highly polished and even affecting work — preferring the clean, spare sound of a chamber ensemble.

    Reich’s music is highly cerebral and unsentimental, but it hardly exists in a spiritual vacuum — Come Out was written as a protest piece, sampling the voice of a victim of police brutality. Much of Reich’s work deals with his Jewish identity, as in Tehillim (1981), his Hebrew setting from the Book of Psalms, or Different Trains (1988), an exceedingly austere Holocaust memorial using snippets of recorded conversation with survivors as the basis for an accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet.

    He extended his documentary style to a pair of full-length video operas created with his wife. The Cave (1993) and Three Tales (1998-2002) set to music snippets from original interviews regarding, respectively, the biblical Abraham, and the potentially disastrous physical or spiritual consequences of new technologies. 1994’s City Life is a more upbeat look at the bustle of New York City living, though it ends on a darker note with FDNY radio samples from the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

    Another new area for Reich is his music for multiple ensembles, starting with his 1998 Triple Quartet for three string quartets (premiered by the Kronos Quartet with tape accompaniment), finally recognized by the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his 2008 Double Sextet (for eighth blackbird and tape), and followed by 2×5 for two rock bands (2008), building dense and often dissonant textures from these rich resources.

    More recently, Reich has returned again to documentary music with the piece WTC 9/11, a musical 2011 memorial commissioned by the Kronos Quartet to commemorate the victims of the second terror attack on the World Trade Center, sampling the watch kept at the disaster site for Jewish victims of the catastrophe and closing the circle beginning with City Life.”

    Visit this page and listen to a whole bunch of Steve Reich speak about many of his works.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:08 PM on May 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Steve Reich   

    From Deceptive Cadence at NPR: Steve Reich at 75 

    i1

    by Anastasia Tsioulcas

    i2
    Steve Reich takes a bow at his 75th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall alongside members of the Kronos Quartet and So Percussion.

    “This October, composer Steve Reich is turning 75 — an age that for many other artists, especially ones as widely adored as Reich, wouldn’t be marked by much more than a few valedictory laps. Instead, he continues to make innovative music and is still one of the most important and influential voices of our era.

    That fact became vivid reality this past Saturday evening at Carnegie Hall, when Reich was feted with a concert that was not at all a retrospective. Instead, it was comprised entirely of works Reich has written only within the last four years, performed by artists who have become Reich colleagues as well as fans: the Kronos Quartet, longstanding partners of Reich, all the way back to 1988’s Different Trains; the downtown denizens of Bang on a Can; So Percussion; and the sextet eighth blackbird.


    Kronos Quartet


    Bang On A Can


    So Percussion


    eighth blackbird

    See the full really great article here, along with photos and a video.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:10 PM on April 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Steve Reich   

    From The Blog at Carnegie Hall:”Steve Reich on Double Sextet” 


    Steve Reich

    Carnegie Hall: Congratulations on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Double Sextet. Can you explain how that piece came about?

    Steve Reich: Double Sextet happened when my publisher Boosey & Hawkes’s then-president Jenny Bilfield called me up and said, ‘ You’ve got to write a piece for eighth blackbird.’ I said, ‘ Gee, I’ve heard of them—what’s their instrumentation? ‘ She replied, ‘ Well, one flute, one clarinet, one violin, one cello, piano, percussion. ‘ I said, ‘Jenny, I can’t write for that.’ Pierrot plus percussion, we call that. She said, ‘They’re really good, why don’t you think about it.’

    i2
    eighth blackbird

    So then I began thinking about all these counterpoint pieces where the musician plays against recordings of themselves, and I thought, ‘ The best thing is if they’d play against a recording of themselves, then I’d have two flutes, two clarinets, etc. ‘ eighth blackbird said they’d love to. And boom, we were on!

    See the full article here.

     
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