Whitney Museum

Also on View:
Three Tales

Steve Reich Biography

Chronology of Steve Reich at the Whitney

Concert Program

Artist Biographies

Calendar of Steve Reich events at the Whitney

Listen Now

So Percussion performs Steve Reich's Drumming, Part 1 (1970-71)

Funding for this program is provided by The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Yamaha C7 pianos provided courtesy of Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. d


Live Streaming Production
Murray Street





Pre-show music streaming generously provided
by Cantaloupe records



A Celebration of the Composer’s 70th Birthday
October 2006

Steve Reich. Photograph by Jeffrey Herman

“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 (UK)

STEVE REICH @ the Whitney 
A Performance Event
Sunday October 15, 2006 2 - 6 pm
3rd Floor Peter Norton Family Galleries




The Whitney Museum of American Art has enjoyed a unique place in composer Steve Reich’s career. His concerts at the Museum in the 1960s and '70s were among the most important of his early career, while those he gave in the '80's and ‘90's cemented his reputation as a modern American master. Sunday, October 15, the Whitney pays special tribute to Reich with four hours of Reich’s music performed by some of today’s most exciting young contemporary music ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, Prism Saxophone Quartet, So Percussion, and the Manhattan School of Music’s TACTUS, as well as Ransom Wilson and other accomplished Reich performers.

The concert features It's Gonna Rain (1965), Marimba Phase (1967), Pendulum Music (1968), Four Organs (1970), Clapping Music (1972) Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ (1973), Vermont Counterpoint (1982), Eight Lines (1983), New York Counterpoint (1985), Six Marimbas (1986), and Proverb (1995). In addition, Alarm Will Sound will perform two pieces dedicated to Reich, by younger composers who credit him as one of their primary influences: Yo Shakespeare, by Michael Gordon, and Amidst Neptune, by Caleb Burhans.

Pendulum Music (1968)


Patti Monson, Alan Pierson, Lee Ranaldo, Adam D. Weinberg

Marimba Phase (1967)   So Percussion
Eight Lines (1983)   Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Ensemble, TACTUS
Amidst Neptune (by Caleb Burhans) (2003)   Alarm Will Sound
It’s Gonna Rain (1965)   Prerecorded tape
New York Counterpoint (1985)   PRISM Saxophone Quartet
Yo Shakespeare (by Michael Gordon) (1992)           Alarm Will Sound
Six Marimbas (1986)   So Percussion
Four Organs (1970)   So Percussion
Proverb (1995)   Alarm Will Sound
Vermont Counterpoint (1982)           Ransom Wilson
Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ (1973)  

Alarm Will Sound and So Percussion

Clapping Music (1972)           So Percussion



October 4 – 15, 2006
Kaufman Astoria Studios Film & Video Gallery

In conjunction with the city-wide and world-wide celebration of Steve Reich’s 70th birthday this fall, the Whitney presents Three Tales by Beryl Korot and Steve Reich.  Reflecting on the dramatic impact technology has exerted on life in the 20th century, this sound and video work contemplates three definitive historical moments: the 1937 Hindenburg crash, the nuclear bomb tests at the Bikini atoll in 1949, and the cloning of sheep “Dolly” in 1997.

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Steve Reich Biography:

Steve Reich 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 to his and video artist Beryl Korot’s digital video opera Three Tales, 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. His instantly recognizable musical language combines rigorous structures with propulsive rhythms and seductive instrumental color. "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, Mr. 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. In 1963, he received his M.A. in Music from Mills College. In the following years, Mr. Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra, Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang at the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle and Berkeley, California, as well as traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew Scriptures in New York and Jerusalem.

In 1966 Mr. Reich founded his own ensemble of three musicians, which rapidly grew to 18 members or more. 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.

In the spring of 1969, Steve Reich first came to the Whitney as part of the seminal Anti-Illusion show. Mr. Reich returned to the Whitney in 1978 and again in 1981 as part of the extraordinarily forward-thinking seminal series, Composer’s Showcase, where many of his important works were premiered.

Mr. Reich’s 1988 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. In 1990, Mr. Reich received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains as recorded by the Kronos Quartet on the Nonesuch label, with which Mr. Reich has an exclusive recording contract. He won a second Grammy award in 1999 for his piece Music for 18 Musicians, also on the Nonesuch label.

In 1994, Mr. Reich was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, and, in 1999, he was awarded Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres.

In 2000, Mr. Reich was awarded the Schuman Prize from Columbia University, the Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College, the Regent’s Lectureship at the University of California at Berkeley, an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts and was named Composer of the Year by Musical America.

Over the years, Mr. Reich has received numerous commissions. His music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world including but not limited to, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Several noted choreographers have used his scores, including Anne Tereas de Keersmaeker, Jiri Kylian, and Jerome Robbins, as well as Laura Dean, with whom Mr. Reich received a Bessie Award in 1986.

Mr. Reich’s innovative "documentary video opera" works The Cave and Three Tales (in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot) have recently expanded the boundaries of the operatic medium. www.stevereich.com

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Chronology of Steve Reich at the Whitney:
Steve Reich first came to the Whitney as part of the seminal Anti-Illusion exhibition in the spring of 1969.  Alongside works by Carl André, Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, and Richard Tuttle, Steve Reich, Bruce Nauman, and Philip Glass presented performances which curator, Marcia Tucker, named extended-time pieces.

Reich returned to the Whitney in 1978 and again in 1981 as part of the influential series Composer's Showcase, where many of his important works were premiered.

Chronology of Steve Reich at the Whitney:

May 27, 1969     

  • Four Log Drums (Jon Gibson, Philip Glass, Richard Landry, and Arthur Murphy, log drums; Steve Reich, phase-shifting pulse gate)
  • Pulse Music (Steve Reich, phase-shifting pulse gate)
  • Pendulum Music (Bruce Nauman, Steve Reich, Richard Serra, Michael Snow, and James Tenney)
  • Violin Phase (Paul Zukofsky, violin and tape)

Jan 29, 1978     

  • Music for Crotales (Bob Becker, Russ Hartenberger, James Freiss, Steve Reich, and Glen Velez, crotales)
  • Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (Steve Reich and Musicians)
  • Music for 18 Musicians (Steve Reich and Musicians)

Jan 6, 1981      

  • Clapping Music
  • My Name Is: Ensemble Portrait (Nurit Tilles, Virgil Blackwell, Mort Silver, Shem Guibbory, Ruth Siegler, and Chris Finckel, voices)
  • Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards (Steve Reich and Musicians)

Oct 5-9 1993     

  • Theatrical version of The Cave by Beryl Korot and Steve Reich, in conjunction with same-named exhibition.

Concert Program:

  • Pendulum Music (performer TBD)
  • Marimba Phase performed by So Percussion
  • Eight Lines performed by Manhattan School of Music's TACTUS
  • Amidst Neptune composed by Caleb Burhans and performed by Alarm Will Sound
  • It’s Gonna Rain (tape)
  • New York Counterpoint performed by PRISM Saxophone Quartet
  • Yo Shakespeare composed by Michael Gordon and performed by Alarm Will Sound
  • Six Marimbas performed by So Percussion
  • Four Organs performed by So Percussion
  • Proverb performed by Alarm Will Sound
  • Vermont Counterpoint performed by Ransom Wilson
  • Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ performed by Alarm Will Sound with So Percussion
  • Clapping Music performed by So Percussion

Artist Biographies:

Alarm Will Sound. Photograph by Naomi White

Alarm Will Sound
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. Musical Artists-in-Residence at Dickinson College, they have established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic virtuosity. ASCAP recognized their contributions to new music with a 2006 Concert Music Award. Their performances have been described as "equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity" by The London Financial Times and as "a triumph of ensemble playing" by The San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says Alarm Will Sound is "the future of classical music." The versatility of Alarm Will Sound allows it to take on music from a wide variety of styles. Its repertoire ranges from European to American works, from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. The group fosters close relationships with contemporary composers and has commissioned and premiered pieces by many renowned artists, including Steve Reich.

Members of the ensemble began playing together while studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. With diverse experience in composition, improvisation, jazz and popular styles, early music, and world music, they bring intelligence and a sense of adventure to all their performances. At the Whitney, AWS will perform two pieces by Reich: Proverb and Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (with So Percussion).
Alan Pierson began conducting studies while pursuing a physics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a composition degree at the Eastman School of Music. He has collaborated with many major composers and performers, including Yo Yo Ma, Steve Reich, August Read Thomas, David Lang, La Monte Young, and Wu Man. Alan has received a Tanglewood fellowship and is now completing Doctoral studies at the Eastman School. His conducting teachers have included Robert Spano, Stefan Asbury, Bradley Lubman, Gunther Schuller, and David Epstein. Mr. Pierson has recorded for Nonesuch Records, Cantaloupe Music, Sony Classical, and Sweetspot DVD. www.alarmwillsound.com

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So Percussion. Photograph by Ian Fry

So Percussion
So Percussion (Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Lawson White) is a captivating group, hailed for their "brilliant" and "consistently impressive" performances by The New York Times. Formed in New Haven, CT in 1999, So Percussion has since made a name as one of the most exciting young ensembles in the country. Aiming to challenge and enable the creation of new music that combines musical, theatrical, and artistic elements, they seek to pull percussion instruments out of their usual contexts and create new aural and visual experiences. The ensemble aims to convey the impact of sound on our very lives by immersing sound and imagination in one performance.

So Percussion’s educational initiatives have resulted in residencies with composition departments at Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia University. Recently, they’ve been featured at Carnegie Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon, the BAM Next Wave Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Miller Theatre, Joe’s Pub, the Other Minds Festival, Merkin Hall, The Roundtop Festival, and on WNYC’s New Sounds and Soundcheck. So’s collaborations have produced many new works, including David Lang’s groundbreaking the so-called laws of nature, written in 2002; a new project with the San Francisco electronica duo Matmos (a portion of which was presented in May 2006 as part of Whitney Live); and the group’s own multimedia show Amid the Noise, which was premiered at Whitney Live last November. So’s recording of Drumming (Cantaloupe Music), Steve Reich’s most famous and influential work, has been praised as a definitive version. At the Whitney, So Percussion will perform four pieces by Reich: Four Organs; Marimba Phase, Six Marimbas, and Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ (both with Alarm Will Sound). www.sopercussion.com

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Patti Monson. Photograph by Peter Schaafer

The Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Ensemble TACTUS, under the direction of Patti Monson, is dedicated to providing young performers and composers at the School with opportunities to study and perform works composed during our lifetime, to work directly with living composers, and to share knowledgeable performances of 20th/21st century masterpieces. In a recent review, Alex Ross of The New Yorker wrote of the Ensemble: "The deepest, grandest noise of the musical season so far." TACTUS has been invited to play at Oberlin College, Princeton University, Queens College, and Cooper Union and recently was the ensemble for the American premiere of Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison’s multimedia event Decasia for ensemble and film. At the Whitney, TACTUS will perform Steve Reich’s Eight Lines. www.msmnyc.edu/popups/tactus_mini.asp




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Ransom Wilson. Photograph by Harold Shapiro

Ransom Wilson
Ransom Wilson (flute) has appeared with major orchestras around the world, and has played in recital with many of the greatest musicians of our time. Mr. Wilson is also an orchestral conductor of growing reputation. He has recorded 30 albums as both flutist and conductor, and was three times nominated for the "Grammy" award. Other awards include the Alabama Prize from the New York Times Foundation, and the Award of Merit in Gold, from the Republic of Austria. He is an Artist Member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Professor of Flute at Yale University, founder and conductor of Solisti New York Orchestra, Artistic Director of Oklahoma’s OK MOZART International Festival, and Music Director of the orchestra at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Mr. Wilson has been guest conductor of many prestigious ensembles, including the Houston Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera. At the Whitney, Mr. Wilson will perform Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint, originally written for him. www.ransomwilson.com






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From left to right: Matt Levy, Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, and Michael Whitcombe of PRISM. Photograph by Pierre Dufour

The PRISM Saxophone Quartet (Matthew Levy, Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, and Michael Whitcombe) is distinguished as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles, presenting the saxophone as a serious concert instrument while embracing its rich history in jazz and popular music. Founded in 1984, Prism has twice been awarded the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music and has been chosen by Musical America as "Outstanding Young Artists". Prism’s creative work has been supported by the nation’s leading cultural philanthropies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Presser Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fun, the Philadelphia Music Project (The Pew Charitable Trusts), and state arts councils in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. Champions of new music, Prism has premiered over 100 works, many by internationally celebrated American composers, including William Bolcom, Steven Mackey, William Albright, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, Libby Larson, Greg Osby, and Jennifer Higdon. The Quartet has premiered works with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The Quartet has also performed with over twenty other distinguished symphonies nationwide, including the Dallas Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras. Their 2006-07 season features collaborations with New York’s premiere chamber chorus, Cantori New York, and Philadelphia’s innovative Miro Dance Theatre. At the Whitney, the Prism Saxophone Quartet will perform New York Counterpoint, originally written for clarinet and tape by Steve Reich, and arranged for sax quartet and tape by Susan Fancher.www.prismquartet.com

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Calendar of Steve Reich events at the Whitney:

October 4-15:
Installation of Steve Reich and Beryl Korot’s Three Tales (1998-2002)
Kaufman Astoria Studios Film & Video Gallery

Free with Museum admission.

Tuesday, October 10, 7 pm:
Conversations on Art
On Three Tales: Steve Reich and Beryl Korot
With WNYC's John Schaefer
Kaufman Astoria Studios Film & Video Gallery

Admission: $8; members, senior citizens, and students with valid ID $6. Advance sales are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum Admissions Desk or by visiting www.whitney.org.

Sunday, October 15, 2-6 pm:
Performance Event
3rd Floor Peter Norton Family Galleries

Free with Museum admission.


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Live Webcast

Tune in for the live webcast of Steve Reich @ the Whitney on Sunday, October 15, 2006 2-6 PM Eastern.
The webcast will be repeated on Sunday, October 15, 2006 6:20-10:20 PM Eastern.

Sign-up for an email reminder of the concert and live webcast.

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