Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed October 27, 1998
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Grammy-winning composer

Steve Reich on campus for lecture, concerts featuring his works Nov. 6-7

Composer Steve Reich will deliver a lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, 1998. Later that evening, the Dutch Percussion Group will perform Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood. On Saturday, Nov. 7, the Brown Orchestra will perform with the Dutch Percussion Group. During this concert, which includes a piece by Reich, the composer will deliver remarks to the audience.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Grammy Award-winning composer Steve Reich will be on the Brown campus Thursday, Nov. 5, through Saturday, Nov. 7, 1998, for a visit that includes three public events:

The lecture, the two concerts and the reception are open to the public without charge.

While on campus, Reich also will lecture to several music classes and will rehearse with the Brown Orchestra. His visit is supported by several departmental funds, including the Gordon Getty Fund, which was provided by President emeritus Vartan Gregorian to sponsor visits by composers or group of composers to campus.

Music critics from around the world describe Reich's work as groundbreaking. By blending recorded sounds - ranging from the spoken word to the noise of a Manhattan street - with video, singers and ensemble performers, Reich is, in the words of one writer, "building a sturdy musical bridge to the 21st Century" using new technology, ancient rhythms (Reich studied West African drumming and Indonesian gamelan) and oral history.

His 1988 piece, Different Trains, marked a new compositional method in which speech recordings generate the musical material for musical instruments. The New York Times called Different Trains "a work of such astonishing originality that breakthrough seems the only possible description." In 1990, Reich received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains as recorded by the Kronos Quartet.

Another work, The Cave, explored the Biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac. It paired Reich's composition with videotaped interviews of Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem and with Americans in New York City and Austin, Texas. Time magazine reporter Michael Walsh called the result "a fascinating glimpse of what opera might be like in the 21st century."