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Steve Reich Heads to Australia for Inaugural Sydney Opera House Residency, Melbourne Recital Centre Event

Steve Reich by Jay Blakesberg

Steve Reich makes a rare visit to Australia for the launch of a new series at the Sydney Opera House called The Composers. The House will stage The Composers: Steve Reich in Residence, a program that will celebrate Reich's work through a number of events, culminating in a Sunday night performance of some of the highlights of his musical repertoire by Synergy Percussion, eighth blackbird, and others. On Monday, Reich heads down to Melbourne for a conversation and concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre with eighth blackbird and members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The Composers is a new Sydney Opera House initiative dedicated to celebrating the music of the world's most influential contemporary composers. Reich will mark the start of this new initiative by working in residence at Sydney Opera House with performers and students, for a week leading up to the final performance. He will discuss his rich career during Steve Reich in Conversation at the Sydney Opera House Studio tonight.

Highlights of Sunday night's culminating concert at the Concert Hall, Steve Reich—A Celebration, will be a performance of his seminal piece Music for 18 Musicians as well as the Australian premiere of Variations for Vibes, Strings, Pianos, which requires two pianos, three string quartets, and four vibraphones. Also on the program are Mallet Quartet, Drumming (Part One), Four Organs, Vermont Counterpoint, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet (which eighth blackbird also performs on the Nonesuch recording).

The pieces will be performed by an ensemble cast of musicians from Australia and around the world, who will rehearse with Reich during his residency at the House, including Synergy Percussion, eighth blackbird, Halcyon, Ensemble Offspring, and more.

During his residency, Reich will also work with students from the Flagship Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO) who have auditioned for this opportunity. Responding to video footage of rehearsals, Reich will provide ongoing commentary on their work prior to his arrival in Australia, and will work with them during his residency to help develop their interpretations and understanding of the intricate rhythms found within new music. The SYO will perform a concert of chamber music featuring works by Reich and Ligeti and Terry Riley's In C at the Opera House's Utzon Room Sunday afternoon.

For more information on The Composers: Steve Reich in Residence, go

For Monday's event at the Melbourne Recital Centre's Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, a conversation with Reich will be followed by an all-Reich concert by eighth blackbird, members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Speak Percussion featuring Clapping Music, Vermont Counterpoint, Drumming (Part One), and Different Trains. For information and tickets, go to


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