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Three Generations: John Adams and Terry Riley

Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
Part of the Steve Reich–curated Three Generations exploration of the changing direction of concert music, this evening focuses on the pioneering first generation of composers. In his revolutionary In C, Terry Riley took 53 phrases, or modules, and gave players the freedom to repeat them as often as they like before moving to the next phrase. The resulting work introduced minimalism to the mainstream. John Adams’s Shaker Loops owes much to the minimalist movement, but also uses small repeating melodic fragments, a technique popularized by Steve Reich in his tape music. Adams’s piece refers to the Shaker religious group, recreating their ecstatic ritual dance in music that is wildly exciting, beautifully meditative, and always fascinating.

Part of Three Generations, curated by Steve Reich.


Ensemble Signal

Brad Lubman, Conductor


JOHN ADAMS Shaker Loops

TERRY RILEY In C (original version)

Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich and John Adams

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 70 minutes without intermission, followed by a discussion with Steve Reich and John Adams.

Public support for Three Generations is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Steve Reich is the holder of the 2016–2017 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Three Generations: Changing the Direction of Concert Music

I have curated this series of four concerts to demonstrate how concert music has changed from the mid-20th century to the present by pivoting from serial / random chance / atonal music—in which discernible harmony, rhythm, or melody was difficult or impossible to hear—to a powerful restoration of all these musical basics in totally new ways.

The first generation to initiate those changes are now in their 70s or 80s and include Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and John Adams. The music of these composers then interested a younger generation now approaching their 60s, including Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who formed the Bang on a Can collective. In turn, a still younger generation, now approaching their 40s, took up both of these earlier generations and carried all these ideas even further. This very large generation is represented here by Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly.

In addition to the performance of their music by several outstanding ensembles—including Ensemble Signal, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the JACK Quartet—many of these composers will discuss their music after the concerts.

—Steve Reich


Ensemble Signal

Ensemble Signal is a New York-based ensemble dedicated to offering the broadest possible audience access to a diverse range of contemporary works through performance,  ...

Ensemble Signal is a New York-based ensemble dedicated to offering the broadest possible audience access to a diverse range of contemporary works through performance, commissioning, recording, and education. Since its debut in 2008, the ensemble has performed more than 150 concerts; has given the New York, world, or US premieres of over 20 works; and co-produced nine recordings.

Signal was founded by Co-Artistic / Executive Director Lauren Radnofsky and Co-Artistic Director / Conductor Brad Lubman, featuring a super-group of independent artists from the modern music scene. The ensemble's passion for the diverse range of music being written today is a driving force behind its projects. Signal's repertoire ranges from minimalism or pop-influenced to the iconoclastic European avant-garde. Signal is flexible in size and instrumentation--everything from solo to large ensemble and opera, including film or multimedia, in any possible combination--which enables it to meet the ever-changing demands on the 21st century performing ensemble.

Signal has appeared at concert halls and international festivals, including the Lincoln Center Festival, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Big Ears Festival, Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, Tanglewood's Festival of Contemporary Music, Ojai Music Festival, and Bang on a Can Marathon. The ensemble regularly works directly with nearly all the composers whose works it performs in order to offer the most authentic interpretations, including Steve Reich, Helmut Lachenmann, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Hans Abrahamsen, and Charles Wuorinen.

Last fall, Ensemble Signal gave the world premiere of Reich's Runner. Their recording of his Music for 18 Musicians (harmonia mundi) received a Diapason d'Or and appeared on the Billboard Classical Crossover chart. The ensemble's educational activities include community outreach programs in diverse settings, as well as workshops with the next generation of composers and performers at institutions that include the University at Buffalo's Center for 21st Century Music, where Signal is a resident ensemble.

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Brad Lubman

Conductor and composer Brad Lubman is founding co-artistic and music director of Ensemble Signal. He is one of the foremost conductors of modern music and a leading ...

Conductor and composer Brad Lubman is founding co-artistic and music director of Ensemble Signal. He is one of the foremost conductors of modern music and a leading figure in the field for more than two decades. A frequent guest conductor of the world's most distinguished orchestras and new-music ensembles, he has gained widespread recognition for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations. His flexibility in a variety of settings has led him to conduct a broad range of repertoire from classical to contemporary works. He has led major orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Dresden Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, and National Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has worked with some of the most important ensembles for contemporary music, including London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik, and Steve Reich and Musicians. His own music has been performed in the United States and Europe, and can be heard on his CD, Insomniac (Tzadik). Brad Lubman is on faculty at the Eastman School of Music and the Bang on a Can Summer Institute.

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