The evening’s programming will be devoted exclusively to the compositions of American composer Steve Reich, including Clapping Music, for two musicians clapping (both amplified) , Music for Pieces of Wood, for five pair of tuned claves , Six Marimbas, a transcription of “Six Pianos” , for 6 marimbas  and Mallet Quartet, for two marimbas and two vibraphones .
It is difficult to discuss Reich as a composer within the framework of traditional, probably out-of-date, definitions of what a composer is and does. What it seems to me that Reich does — forgive me for attempting such a minimalist definition — is invent a formula of relationships and set the parameters within which the music, once put in motion, can compose itself. This is breathtakingly self-effacing, but it is entirely possible that it is precisely Reich’s austere impersonality that appeals to his fans.
It also seems to me that Reich’s music defines a new audience, that his music does not treat its listeners like music usually does, neither charming, nor thrilling, nor abusing them. It casts a spell, to be sure, but the spell contains no historical or literary references.
For this last feature, the absence of cultural context, I have trouble connecting Reich’s music to my emotional life. Yet, moment by moment, I feel a powerful fascination for Reich’s music, fascination mixed with dread,, like the covers of early Blue Öyster Cult albums.
Reich’s art, his particular genius, are perfectly showcased by a percussion ensemble, I think. The instruments articulate a skeleton of process, it all makes sense. This is the way to hear and recognize Reich’s core values.
Admission to the Percussion Ensemble concert is $15 for general and $7 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online by clicking here.