Reich: Music For 18 Musicians

The Southbank Centre has announced a performance of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ by the London Sinfonietta Orchestra for their Classical Season in 2018/2019. It is presented as part of an all-Reich evening, celebrating “one of the most iconic works of American minimalism.”

Steve Reich, along with composers like Philip Glass and Terry Riley, is credited with pioneering “minimal music” in the late 1960s – a style defined by its restrained use of musical materials such as rhythm, timbre and pitch.

Minimal music compositions are often lengthy, moving through cycles that exaggerate limitations and place focus on the internal processes of the music rather than emotional or narrative suggestion. The psycho-acoustic effects of such music led to Reich and his peers being referred to as ‘The New York Hypnotic School’ by various critics.

‘Music for 18 Musicians’ was Reich’s first composition written for a large ensemble, and was originally performed at The Town Hall, New York City, in 1976. It is an hour-long piece based on a cycle of 11 chords that are played and augmented across strings, woodwind, vocal and percussive instruments.

Reich: Music for 18 Musicians will take place on 12th February 2019 at Royal Festival Hall.