Performance Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 8 PM

Music of Steve Reich

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Carnegie Hall celebrates the 75th birthday of one of America’s greatest living composers with a concert that features three New York premieres of his recent works, including WTC 9/11, a Carnegie Hall co-commission. Plus, hear his Double Sextet—the piece that earned him a much-deserved Pulitzer Prize in 2009.


  • Bang on a Can All-Stars and Friends
    ·· Robert Black, Electric Bass
    ·· David Cossin, Percussion
    ·· Vicky Chow, Piano
    ·· Evan Ziporyn, Clarinet and Piano
    ·· Bryce Dessner, Guitar
    ·· Taylor Levine, Guitar
    ·· Derek Johnson, Guitar
    ·· Mark Stewart, Guitar
    ·· Glenn Kotche, Drums
    ·· Kelli Kathman, Flute
    ·· Todd Reynolds, Violin
    ·· Ashley Bathgate, Cello
    ·· Gregg August, Bass
    ·· Andrew Cotton, Sound Engineer
  • eighth blackbird
    ·· Tim Munro, Flute
    ·· Michael J. Maccaferri, Clarinet
    ·· Matt Albert, Violin and Viola
    ·· Nicholas Photinos, Cello
    ·· Matthew Duvall, Percussion
    ·· Lisa Kaplan, Piano
  • Kronos Quartet
    ·· David Harrington, Violin
    ·· John Sherba, Violin
    ·· Hank Dutt, Viola
    ·· Jeffrey Zeigler, Cello
  • So Percussion
    ·· Eric Beach
    ·· Josh Quillen
    ·· Adam Sliwinski
    ·· Jason Treuting


  • Mallet Quartet (NY Premiere)
  • WTC 9/11 (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • 2 x 5 (NY Premiere)
  • Double Sextet


  • Bang on a Can All-Stars

    Since 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars have been recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today's most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Together, the All-Stars have worked in close collaboration with some of the most inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Burmese circle drum master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more.

    The group's celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno's ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley's In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittová, Thurston Moore, Owen Pallett, and others. Recent project highlights include the world premiere of Steve Reich's 2x5 at the 2009 Manchester International Festival; the group's China debut at the Beijing Music Festival; the US tour and Carnegie Hall performance of Julia Wolfe's Steel Hammer, an evening-length staged concert with Trio Mediaeval; the 2010 BAM Next Wave Festival performances of Evan Ziporyn's A House in Bali, a new dance-opera that features the All-Stars with Balinese gamelan; and commissioned works by Louis Andriessen, Bill Frisell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and more.

    With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group's distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right. Visit for up-to-date information regarding Bang on a Can programs, events, and CD releases.
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  • eighth blackbird

    Hailed by critics and audiences alike, eighth blackbird is widely lauded for its unusual performing style-often playing from memory with theatrical flair-and for its efforts to make new music accessible to wider audiences. Since its founding in 1996, the sextet has actively commissioned and recorded new works; recent commissions include a concerto from Jennifer Higdon and pieces from Steve Reich, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Steven Mackey, David Lang, Stephen Hartke, and Bruno Mantovani. The group's album strange imaginary animals won two Grammy Awards in 2008, including one for Best Chamber Music Performance.

    Now celebrating its 15th season, eighth blackbird showcases music by the two most recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composers in its 2010-2011 recording and performing repertoire, featuring new and recent works (written expressly for the ensemble) by both Jennifer Higdon and Steve Reich. Headlining the group's season is its new politically driven two-part program PowerFUL/less, tackling Stravinsky's provocative statement questioning the value, meaning and power of art. The ensemble also curates and performs in Park Avenue Armory's new Contemporaty Tune-In Music Festival in New York City. Other highlights include performances at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art; a tour of Higdon's new concerto On a Wire with several high-profile orchestras; Reich festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, at Carnegie Hall and at London's Barbican; a return to the Library of Congress for a concert that includes the world premiere of a new work by Stephen Hartke; and a new CD featuring Reich's prize-winning Double Sextet on Nonesuch, released last September.
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  • Kronos Quartet

    For more than 30 years, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth, and commissioning more than 700 new works and arrangements for string quartet.

    Integral to Kronos's work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world's foremost composers, including Americans Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich; Azerbaijan's Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Poland's Henryk Górecki, and Argentina's Osvaldo Golijov. Additional collaborators from around the world have included Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; the legendary Bollywood "playback singer" Asha Bhosle; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; famed Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov; and iconic American singer-songwriter Tom Waits.

    A non-profit organization, the Kronos Quartet / Kronos Performing Arts Association is committed to mentoring emerging musicians and composers, and to creating, performing, and recording new works. The quartet devotes five months of each year to touring, appearing in the world's most prestigious concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Kronos is equally prolific on CD, with a discography on Nonesuch Records that includes Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard's Classical and World Music lists; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2003 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg's Lyric Suite. Visit for more information.
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  • Sō Percussion

    Since coming together at Yale School of Music, Sō Percussion has been creating music that is at turns raucous and touching, barbarous and heartfelt. Realizing that percussion instruments can communicate all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility, it has not been an easy music to define. Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, the Brooklyn-based quartet's innovative work has quickly helped it forge a unique and diverse career.

    The group's music runs the gamut from percussion classics (Steve Reich's Drumming), to new commissions (David Lang's the so-called laws of nature), to original music (group member Jason Treuting's Amid the Noise). Sō Percussion has performed such works all over the US, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Stanford Lively Arts, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and many others. In addition, recent tours to Russia, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Ukraine have brought Sō Percussion international acclaim.

    Sō Percussion would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Black Swamp accessories, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.
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Reich Eight Lines (Octet) (1979)
Bang on a Can
Reich Triple Quartet (Third Movement)
Kronos Quartet and Friends

In the Composer’s Own Words
On Stage at Carnegie Hall

My first performance at Carnegie Hall was on January 18, 1973, playing electric organ with Michael Tilson Thomas and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in my piece Four Organs. The other works were by J. C. Bach, Liszt, and Bartók. If you think a piece for four rock organs and maracas was an odd choice of repertoire for a Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concert, you’re right. I believe MTT not only believed in my piece, but thought it would prove provocative, and indeed it did. We had a hard time finishing the performance because there was so much noise from the audience. At the end, there was an avalanche of boos and bravos. I was white as a sheet, but MTT was jubilant, recalling the premiere of The Rite of Spring and exclaiming, “This is history, this is history.” Harold C. Schonberg, then chief music critic for The New York Times, wrote, “The audience reacted as though red-hot needles were being inserted under fingernails … At the end there were lusty boos. There also was a contingent that screamed approval. At least there was some excitement in the hall, which is more than can be said when most avant-garde music in being played.”

It was quite a different situation February 19, 1980, when my ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, performed an all-Reich program of three of my then new works: Octet; Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards; and Music for a Large Ensemble. Mr. Schonberg changed his tone a bit, writing “Last night, Carnegie Hall saw the premieres of three pieces by Steve Reich, and just about every seat in the hall was taken. It was a young audience, and an attentive one. During each piece, everybody listened quietly, obviously absorbed, with an almost religious kind of dedication … Most listeners seem to enjoy experiencing this kind of music with their eyes closed … Whatever his music means, however, is lost to these ears. Perhaps he composes meta-music. It is a strange phenomena.”

Another performance of mine at Carnegie Hall was on June 23, 1990, again with my own ensemble, performing Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ and Music for 18 Musicians. Interestingly, this concert was presented as part of the JVC Jazz Festival and beside my own ensemble, the World Saxophone Quartet performed. The concert was well-attended and well-received by an audience of both classical and jazz listeners.

In 2003, Carnegie Hall brilliantly added Zankel Hall to its main building and expanded musical life in New York City. There was now a new approximately 700-seat concert hall where all kinds of new music, jazz, rock, and world music were regularly presented, attracting a new and generally younger audience. During the opening concerts for Zankel Hall in September 2003, David Robertson conducted my Tehillim with Synergy Vocals, and Paul Hillier conducted Proverb with his Theatre of Voices together with members of my own ensemble.

In 2006, during the Steve Reich @ 70 concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and BAM, participants in a Professional Training Workshop performed City Life, Triple Quartet, Sextet, and Music for Pieces of Wood in Zankel Hall on October 19. Three days later at Zankel Hall, Steve Reich and Musicians—together with Synergy Vocals and conductor Bradley Lubman—performed the US premiere of Daniel Variations, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall. The program also included Cello Counterpoint, performed by Maya Beiser; and Drumming—Part One and Piano Phase / Video Phase, performed by David Cossin. The major concert of that entire series was presented at Carnegie Hall on October 21, 2006, with my own ensemble and guest artists Pat Metheny and Kronos Quartet, performing Electric Counterpoint, Different Trains, and Music for 18 Musicians.

Now five years later, on April 30, four of our finest young ensembles perform four of my most recent works: Double Sextet, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and performed by eighth blackbird and friends of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009; 2x5, my first work for rock instruments, performed by Bang on a Can All-Stars and Friends; Mallet Quartet, performed by Sō Percussion; and my latest work, WTC 9/11, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and performed by Kronos Quartet.

I would like to thank all the people at Carnegie Hall over the years, including Judith Arron, Ara Guzelimian, Robert Harth, Clive Gillinson, Jeremy Geffen, Kathy Schuman, Amy Rhodes, Gino Francesconi, and many others. Performing and being performed at the greatest concert hall in America is not something I or any other musician has ever taken for granted. My gratitude to everyone at Carnegie Hall for their long-lived and ongoing support.

—Steve Reich

Program Notes
This performance is part of The Originals.