Born in New York and raised there and in California, Steve Reich graduated with honours in philosophy from Cornell University in 1957. For the next two years, he studied composition with Hall Overton, and from 1958 to 1961 studied at the Juilliard School of Music. Reich received his M.A. in Music from Mills College in 1963, where he worked with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud. Reich also 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 and traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew Scriptures in New York and Jerusalem. In 1966 Reich founded his own ensemble of three musicians, which rapidly grew. Since 1971, Steve Reich and Musicians have frequently toured the world and have performed to soldout houses at venues from Carnegie Hall to the Bottom Line Cabaret. Reich’s 1988 piece, Different Trains, marked a new compositional method in which speech recordings generate the musical material for instruments. In 1990, he received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains, recorded by the Kronos Quartet on the Nonesuch label. He won a second Grammy in 1999 for Music for 18 Musicians. Over the years, Reich has received commissions from the most important international institutions. His music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world and several choreographers have created dances to Reich’s music. In 1994 Reich was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, and in 1999, awarded Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres.
As of November 2019