Steve Reich Concert Series
Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December 2017
Concert series organised in conjunction with the exhibition "Being Modern: MoMA in Paris"
© Jeffrey Herman
Drawing inspiration from Steve Reich’s Drumming, featured in the exhibition “Being Modern, the MoMA in Paris” and which originally premiered at that New York museum in 1971, the auditorium will host the celebrated composer for a weekend of performances.
Considered a pioneer of minimalist music, Steve Reich will join musicians to speak about and present a series of concerts devoted to his major works. Daytime and evening lecture-cum-performances will showcase this movement in music, which began in the United States.
SATURDAY 2 DECEMBER 2017
8.30 p.m.: Grand Concert
Clapping Music (with Steve Reich)
2 vibraphones and 2 pianos
1. Part One
Bongos tuned but stand-mounted and played with drumsticks
2. Part Two
Three marimbas and a marimbaphone with two female voices
3. Part Three
Three glockenspiels with a piccolo and whistling
4. Part Four
All instruments tuned to the Western diatonic scale
Closing speech made by Steve Reich
SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 2017
2 concerts with commentary by Steve Reich
3.00 p.m.: Concert commented by Steve Reich
Music for Pieces of Wood (1973)
Mallet Quartet (2009)
2 marimbas (5 octaves), 2 vibraphones
Ensemble of solo voices (3 solo sopranos, 2 solo tenors), 2 vibraphones, 4 other five-octave keyboards vocals and vibraphones that can be amplified depending on location
5.30 p.m.: Concert commented by Steve Reich
2 flutes, 2 clarinets, piano, electric bass guitar, 4 violins, 2 altos
Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (1973)
2 glockenspiels, 4 marimbas, 1 metallophone, 3 female voices (two sopranos, one alto), and a digital organ
Steve Reich, honoured composer (present on 2 and 3 December)
Colin Currie Group (29 musicians)
Synergy Vocals (6 singers)
Concert by Steve Reich Saturday 2 Decembre 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Concert series commented by Steve Reich Sunday 3 December 2017, 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Steve Reich has been called "America’s greatest living composer" (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).
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, as well as an album of his percussion works, have 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; London, Sydney, San Francisco, Boston, and BBC symphony orchestras; London Sinfonietta; Kronos Quartet; Ensemble Modern; Ensemble Intercontemporain; Ensemble Signal; International Contemporary Ensemble; 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, Justin Peck, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, 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 Composition from Northwestern University, as well as the Schuman Award from Columbia University, the Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College, and the Regent’s 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.
During the 2017–2018 season, Runner—Reich’s new work for large ensemble that debuted at London’s Royal Opera House in November 2016—continues to be championed by Ensemble Signal and Brad Lubman, who perform the East coast premiere at the Library of Congress and the New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in the fall. Additional season highlights include a production of Three Tales at Wuppertaler Bühnen in Germany, as well as major presentations of his music at the Staatsoper and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Southbank Centre in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Philharmonie in Cologne.
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.
"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" (The Guardian).
© Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.
© Jay Blakesberg
Artist in Association, Southbank Centre, London Artist in Residence, Oregon Symphony Orchestra.
Hailed as “the world’s finest and most daring percussionist” (Spectator), Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.
A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie’s commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognised in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, James MacMillan, Anna Clyne, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Alexander Goehr, Andrew Norman, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly. Looking ahead, in the coming seasons Currie will premiere new works by Andy Akiho, Helen Grime and Simon Holt.
Currie is Artist in Association at London’s Southbank Centre, where he was the focus of a major percussion festival Metal Wood Skin in 2014 and continues to perform there every season. Currie is also Artist in Residence with Oregon Symphony Orchestra 2015/16 -2017/18. The three season residency includes annual performances with Oregon Symphony Orchestra, extensive education and outreach work, and this season sees the world premiere of Andy Akiho’s Percussion Concerto in April 2018, conducted by Carlos Kalmar.
Currie’s 2017/18 season is marked by a number of other premieres including a new work for piano and percussion by Sir Harrison Birtwistle with Nicolas Hodges at the Library of Congress and London’s Southbank Centre. Currie will also premiere new works by Brett Dean and Joe Duddell with Håkan Hardenberger at Malmo Chamber Festival this September and Aldeburgh Music in November 2017, and a new work for percussion and electronics by Dave Maric with the Scottish Ensemble.
Other highlights of 2017/18 include the Scandinavian premiere of HK Gruber’s into the open... with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, conducted by HK Gruber, and a series of solo recitals including The Schubert Club, Budapest, Lawrence University and at Sir James MacMillan’s The Cumnock Tryst. Currie’s orchestral engagements include Houston Symphony, Antwerp Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Het Gelders Orkest, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Brno Contemporary Orchestra.
Currie’s dynamic ensemble the Colin Currie Group was formed in 2006 to celebrate the music of Steve Reich and made its five-star debut at the BBC Proms. Since then, with Reich’s personal endorsement Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors of Drumming, which they have performed at many venues and festivals internationally. Highlights of the 2017/18 season include the release of the group’s debut recording of Drumming and performances at King’s Place and Saffron Hall.
Currie has recorded many concerto, recital and chamber works including most recently Elliott Carter’s Two Controversies and a Conversation with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Oliver Knussen (Ondine) and Simon Holt’s a table of noises with The Hallé Orchestra/Collon (NMC). His recording of Rautavaara’s Incantations with the Helsinki Philharmonic/Storgårds (Ondine) was released to critical acclaim and won a 2012 Gramophone Award. Previous releases by Currie include MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/MacMillan on Challenge Classics, Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with the London Philharmonic/Alsop, which won a 2010 Grammy Award, and a recital disc Borrowed Time featuring music by Dave Maric (Onyx). Currie recently recorded Steve Reich’s Quartet with Colin Currie Group to be released by Nonesuch Records in the coming season.
© Marco Borggreve
Colin Currie Group
“Another performance that knocked my socks off was Colin Currie and his group doing Drumming at the South Bank [in London] this year. It was miked up high, it was expressionist, it was a brand new take. And I thought, Oh, we never could have done it that way.”
Steve Reich on the Colin Currie Group, Irish Times, July 2011.
Led by British percussionist Colin Currie and comprising the UK’s finest percussionists, the Colin Currie Group is a virtuosic ensemble that specialises in the music of Steve Reich.
Colin Currie Group was formed for a performance at the 2006 BBC Proms when Colin Currie was asked to curate a late-night event celebrating the music of Steve Reich, then in his 70th birthday year. Currie assembled a group of outstanding percussionists who gave their five-star debut at the Proms featuring Steve Reich’s Drumming.
The Group went on to perform Drumming in a sell-out event at London’s Southbank Centre attended by the composer, who afterwards commented: “I think this man has taken this piece into another generation, yes, but beyond that into a finer level of performance and has opened it up to me as a kind of revelation, and I want to thank him.”
With Reich’s endorsement, Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors of Drumming. The ensemble has since performed the work to great acclaim at many major UK venues and festivals, including Cheltenham, Birmingham Town Hall, Bristol, Perth and again at London’s Southbank Centre.
Colin Currie Group have gone on to explore many of Steve Reich’s works, including Sextet, Mallet Quartet, Music for Pieces of Wood and Music for 18 Musicians. Their first performance of Music for 18 Musicians in 2013 was at a sold-out Royal Festival Hall in the presence of the composer, lauded as “technically impeccable and musically overwhelming” (Guardian) and “simultaneously static and bursting with event: a joyful conundrum” (Independent).
In 2014 the Group gave the premiere of a new work by Steve Reich Quartet for two pianos and two vibraphones at Southbank Centre prior to touring this work throughout Europe. In future seasons Colin Currie Group will continue to add to their repertoire, Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org) including performances of Tehillim in the UK (Royal Festival Hall) and Tokyo OperaCity Concert Hall for two performances in March 2017.
The Group is in demand internationally, having made their international debut with two performances at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in 2012 and in August 2013 their European debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Recent seasons have included further performances at London’s Southbank Centre, Paris Cité de la Musique, Cologne Philharmonie, Prague Strings of Autumn Festival, Rotterdam De Doelen, Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, Gent, Dublin, Glasgow Minimal Festival, Cardiff and Saffron Hall.
2015-16 highlights included the Finnish premiere of Quartet at Helsinki Festival and multiple performances of Music for 18 Musicians including a return to Southbank Centre and two performances in Rotterdam. In 2016-17 Colin Currie Group made their debut at Macau International Music Festival, as well as return to Southbank Centre and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall for performances of Tehillim and further European performances including at Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Following a successful kickstarter campaign, Colin Currie Group will record Drumming in May 2017.
© Chris Gloag
Synergy Vocals started out as a quartet of female singers who performed Tehillim for Steve Reich’s 60th birthday concert in London in 1996. Twenty years later, the group comprises an elite pool of singers able to deliver a broad repertoire in a variety of styles. The group specialises in close-microphone singing and is often associated with the music of Steve Reich, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Steven Mackey and Luciano Berio, performing regularly with Ensemble Modern, Ictus, Ensemble InterContemporain, London Sinfonietta and the Colin Currie Group.
Synergy has given concerts all over the world with orchestras and ensembles including the Boston, Chicago, St Louis, New World and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, the Los Angeles, Brooklyn and New York Philharmonic orchestras, Remix, Nexus, Steve Reich & Musicians, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Claviers de Lyon, the Tempo Reale Ensemble, AskoǀSchönberg, the Hebrides Ensemble, the London Symphony Orchestra and all five of the UK’s BBC orchestras. They have also collaborated with dance companies including the Royal Ballet (London) and Rosas.
The group’s world premières include Steve Reich’s Three Tales and Daniel Variations, Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse, Louis Andriessen’s video opera La Commedia, David Lang’s writing on water and Sir James MacMillan’s Since it was the day of Preparation…, as well as the UK première of Nono’s monumental Prometeo on London’s South Bank.
As well as live concerts and recordings, the group has undertaken educational and outreach projects in the UK, The Netherlands, the USA and South America. Micaela Haslam regularly coaches ensembles for Steve Reich in the preparation of his Music for 18 Musicians (most recently the London Philharmonic Orchestra). She is also in increasing demand as a speaker, giving inspirational talks about Steve’s work.
Synergy Vocals is featured on a variety of film soundtracks, including Nanny McPhee, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Severance, Triangle and Jane Eyre, and television signature tunes including the Home Fires series for ITV (UK). Commercial recordings of the group include the 2011 Grammy winning Dreamhouse by Steven Mackey, Since it was the day of Preparation…. by Sir James MacMillan (with Hebrides Ensemble), De Staat by Louis Andriessen (with London Sinfonietta), Three Tales by Steve Reich (with Steve Reich & Musicians), La Commedia by Louis Andriessen (with AskoǀSchönberg), Kompendium’s Beneath the Waves, These New Puritans’ Field of Reeds, Rob Reed’s Sanctuary, and Steven Wilson’s Grace for Drowning. The group’s most recent release is Berio’s Sinfonia with BBCSO conducted by Josep Pons (Harmonia Mundi), winner of the recent BBC CD Awards (vocal category).