Steve Reich Turns 80: From Renegade to Establishment.
Just about every contemporary musician I interview, especially on the instrumental side of things, cites two people as an influence: Brian Eno and Steve Reich. And usually when they cite Reich, they really mean his seminal 1976 composition, Music for 18 Musicians. But Reich has composed dozens of works over the course of his 60 year career. His tape-loop works like “It’s Gonna Rain” influenced Brian Eno. His epic 1974 recording of Drumming (composed in 1971) is one of the signature pieces of minimalism. His “Electric Counterpoint” has been recorded many times, including the original by Pat Metheny. Different Trains was his epic composition about living through WWII in America. Reich still continues to compose and perform and he is the second of the Holy Trinity of Minimalism to reach 80. Terry Riley got there last year and Philip Glass comes next year. and he still continues to compose and perform. LaMonte Young, the Godfather of Minimalism, got there first, of course.
We talked to Reich on his 70th birthday and not so much has changed in the last decade, so here’s that interview in the Echoes Podcast which included comments from Brian Eno and George Winston.
Also, here’s a piece a wrote at that time: Steve Reich Pushed-Started My VW Bug.