An American composer born October 3, 1936 in New York.
A pianist and a percussionist, with a degree in philosophy, Steve Reich studied composition with the jazz player Hall Overton as well as at the Juilliard School. Il obtained a Master of Arts degree in music at Mills College after following the classes of Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud while steeping himself in jazz. In 1966 he founded his own ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, and this gave him a suitable framework for his experimental form of composition.
A pioneer, with Philip Glass, of minimalism, he composes music that is essentially tonal/modal and is characterised by repetition, a stable pulse and clear structure. Fascinated by canon, he developed a process of progressive dephasing that he transposed to instrumental writing (Piano Phase, 1967). The innate colour of his pieces stems from the use of identical tone-colours and from a taste for percussive sounds (Drumming, 1971) that he has studied through African and Balinese music. In the mid-1970s a newly awakened interest in Judaism opened a period of personal religious, philosophical and historical involvement (Tehillim, 1981). Moving gradually away from minimalism, he incorporated new technological elements into his work, notably recorded documents (Different trains, 1988; WTC 9/11, 2010), samples of live sound (City Life, 1995) and multimedia shows (The Cave, opera-video, 1993; Three Tales, opera-documentary, 2002).
Steve Reich, whose music is performed all over the world, was promoted to the grade of Commander in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1999) and received the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Double Sextet.