Steve Reich , born October 3, 1936 in New York, is an American musician and composer. He is considered one of the pioneers of minimalist music, a current of contemporary music playing a central role in classical music in the United States. To characterize his work, especially his compositions from the period 1965-1976, he prefers to use the expression "phase music" (translated from the American Phasing), which refers to his invention of the technique of phase shift>. Beginning in 1976, he developed a rhythm and pulse-based musical writing with one of his most important works, Music for 18 Musicians, which marks the beginning of his wide international success. Since then recognized as an essential contemporary composer, he directs his composition work around the setting to music of the speech, especially in multimedia works associating video created in collaboration with his wife Beryl Korot.
While having played a pivotal role in the evolution of contemporary music, and through his works influenced artists beyond his creative field, such as in electronic music and contemporary dance, Steve Reich remains a composer not very prolific who has written, during his whole career, only fifty distinct pieces. These have however earned him many international awards and honors and are the subject of a very important discography.
Steve Reich, born into a middle-class Jewish family in New York in 1936, is the son of Leonard Reich, a lawyer, and June Sillman, who acts as an actress, singer, and composer of Broadway shows >>>> >. His parents separated when he was one year old, leading him to live in New York at his father's home in 1942, where he was raised by his governess, Virginia Mitchell, and Los Angeles during the holidays with his mother, who remarried to Sidney Carroll with whom she will have three other children including fantasy writer Jonathan Carroll >>>. At age seven, he took piano lessons but, according to his words, will be more interested in the following years to popular music. During his adolescence, he also discovered jazz through his friends and founded with them, at age 14, a group of which he is the drummer. His passion for rhythm pushes him to seriously study percussion with Roland Kohloff, timpanist of the New York Philharmonic.
At the beginning of his studies in 1953, Steve Reich first followed a philosophy course during which he studied in particular the essays of Ludwig Wittgenstein but also the history of music with William Austin who will have a great importance in the orientation of his musical tastes >>>. He graduated from Cornell University in 1957. Contrary to the wishes of his father who wanted to see him lead a liberal profession >>>, he decided to pursue music studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where he was enrolled from 1958 to 1961 in piano and percussion classes with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti>, but also in private composition with jazz pianist Hall Overton>. It was also during this period that he met Art Murphy (who will become a future member of his group), Peter Schickele and Philip Glass, also a student at the Juilliard but with whom he says he has nothing in common> . His personal life was marked at that time by a first marriage in 1960 with Joyce Barkett, whose son Michael was born in 1962, but the couple separated a year later. He decides to leave for San Francisco in the summer of 1961, where he experiences a period of personal doubts and goes on doing odd jobs.