Steve Reich seems more like a teen with his iPod up too loud than a Pulitzer-prize winning septuagenarian composer.
Reich’s latest project brings together a passionate appreciation for both musical technique and rock virtuosity. Reich describes his latest piece as a rhythmic, real rock project that he thinks his audience might not expect.
When talking about his most beloved instrument, the electric bass, Reich talks romantically about the “snap, crackle and pop” and then tosses in a little classical lingo: “pizzicato.”
Mark Stewart, a classically-trained guitarist who has switched between classical music and playing with Paul Simon seems like an ideal musician for Reich’s multifaceted taste. Bryce Dessner, of the indie band The National, is also part of the project. He embodies the same classical/rock duality Reich obviously appreciates: Dessner was trained at Yale School of Music.
In the midst of genre-bending mash-ups, Reich is standing by rock music that is technically intricate, and leaving the Garage Band self-starters to the glow of their iMacs. In an age of disposable everything, Reich is built to last.
WQXR's Maximum Reich festival is underway now. And here's Reich himself, discussing his newest composition.