Steve Reich turns 70 today. There will be the usual superlatives–greatest living composer, most important musical thinker, and other fun, but largely unreliable, speculations. We won’t burden Reich with any of them. The path of music history is already littered with the ghosts of greatest livings whose work has since fallen into neglect and obscurity. Others fade for awhile only to have their reputations re-claimed by forceful new advocates. One of the great things about leaving behind a body of work as essential to its time as Reich’s is that it is a legacy each age can evaluate on its own terms and through the prism of its own judgements and tastes.
Suffice it to say that Steve Reich is one of the few composers to have captured fame, fortune and widespread admiration in his own lifetime and one of the even fewer who have a real shot at musical immortality. That’s an achievement worth celebrating.
And he still has time on the meter.
Events in the Steve Reich@70 festival:
Choreography by Akram Khan and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, with the London Sinfonietta, Tuesday and Thursday through Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100
A concert by young artists participating in a weeklong professional training program, on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., Zankel Hall; a concert of works performed by the artists they were written for, including Pat Metheny and the Kronos Quartet, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m., Isaac Stern Auditorium; and a “discovery day” of lectures, talks and films, and an all-Reich program including “Drumming” and “Daniel Variations,” Oct. 22 starting at noon in Weill Hall, with the concert at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall. (212) 247-7800
A concert with the Los Angeles Master Chorale including “Tehillim” and the New York premiere of “You Are (Variations),” Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall; and “The Cave,” Nov. 2 to 4 at 8 p.m., Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 899 10th Avenue, at 58th Street. (212) 721-6500
An installation of “Three Tales” from Wednesday through Oct. 15, with a free four-hour concert by some important young ensembles (including Alarm Will Sound on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. webcast live on whitney.org. 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street(800) 944-8639.