Over the past five decades, Steve Reich created and honed a recognizable style that has made him one of today’s top American composers. In the process he has helped propel so-called minimalist music into the mainstream. Reich turns 75 in October and recently composed a work that commemorates the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“WTC 9/11,” named for The World Trade Center and Sept. 11, debuted just weeks before Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces near Islamabad. Scored for double string quartet and tape, it was performed last week by the Kronos Quartet at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Reich lived a few blocks away from Ground Zero but was hours away from home on Sept. 11, 2001.
Kronos Quartet had asked Reich to write a piece using recorded voices. At first, Reich was not focused on September 11.
“Finally, after several months, I realized, ‘Hey, 9/11, that’s what I need to be doing, and I will simply use the public domain materials from NORAD, the North American air controllers who were the first to notice that [flight] American one was off course and was going south when it should be going west to L.A.”