Steve Reich is a modern American Twentieth Century composer. He was born in New York on October 3, 1936 and spent his early life between New York and California where his parents lived. At the age of fourteen, he studied drumming with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra timpanist. His studies included the Julliard School of Music and the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana at Accra. He also got a degree in philosophy at Cornell University in 1957.
Steve Reich liked African and Balinese music and in 1966 he started his own ensemble with mostly percussionists that now tours the world. Reich used pre-recorded music in many of his pieces. Examples of this are 'Different Trains' and 'Electric Counterpoint.' In 'Different Trains,' he recorded different people talking and then wrote music that sounded the same way. The musical instruments imitated the person's speech. He also used train sounds and a string quartet to create this piece of music. It won a Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary Composition in 1990. In 'Electric Counterpoint,' Reich pre-recorded guitarist Pat Methany playing the guitar ten times. He also recorded two electric bass parts. To make the final composition, Pat Methany played the guitar live against the tape.
Reich has also worked on music that is presented live with a video backdrop. He created a music theater video piece based on the Old Testament called 'The Cave.' One of his newer pieces is 'Three Tales,' a theater presentation in which information about three twentieth century historical events is shown on a screen while singers and musicians perform on the stage in front.
Steve Reich is still living and performs his music in many countries around the world.
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