Steve Reich has been 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).
Born in New York and raised there and in California, 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. Reich received his M.A. in Music from Mills College in 1963, where he worked with Luciano Berio and
Steve Reich's music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the London, San Francisco, and Boston Symphonies, all led by Michael Tilson Thomas; the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta; Ensemble Modern conducted by Bradley Lubman; Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by David Robertson; the London Sinfonietta conducted by Markus Stenz and Martyn Brabbins; the Theater of Voices conducted by Paul Hillier; the Schoenberg Ensemble conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw; the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano; the Saint Louis Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin; the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Neal Stulberg; and the BBC Symphony conducted by Peter Eötvös.
Several noted choreographers have created dances to Steve Reich's music, including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker ("Fase," 1983, set to four early works as well as "Drumming," 1998 and "Rain" set to Music for 18 Musicians), Jirí Kylían ("Falling Angels," set to Drumming Part I), Jerome Robbins for the New York City Ballet
(Eight Lines) and Laura Dean, who commissioned Sextet. That ballet, entitled "Impact," was premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, and earned Steve Reich and Laura Dean a Bessie Award in 1986. Other major choreographers using Reich's music include Eliot Feld, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Maurice Bejart, Lucinda Childs, Siobhan Davies and Richard Alston.
In April of 2009 Steve Reich won his first-ever Pulitzer Prize for Double Sextet (2007). Commissioned by eighth blackbird, the 22-minute piece received its world premiere on March 26, 2008 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts in Virginia. Scored for two each of flutes, clarinets, vibraphones, pianos, violins and cellos, Double Sextet can be played in two ways; either with twelve musicians or with six playing against a recording of themselves.
2x5, written for Bang on a Can in 2008, premiered in Manchester, England in 2008, and shared the bill with electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk. Mallet Quartet, received its premiere in Budapest in 2009. Both 2x5 and Double Sextet were recently recorded on the Nonesuch label, to much critical acclaim. Radio Re-Write, jointly commissioned by the London Sinfonietta and Alarm Will Sound, received its world premiere at the South Bank Centre in 2013.