Live Virtual Concert and Conversation featuring Steve Reich & Amy Sillman

May 10, 2021

Bang on a Can, BOMB Magazine, and the Jewish Museum presented A Live Virtual Concert and Conversation featuring Steve Reich & Amy Sillman, with performances by Bang on a Can All-Stars David Cossin and Mark Stewart.

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Featured artists were compensated by Bang on a Can, but audiences were encouraged to purchase a ticket. Doing so would help Bang on a Can to do more performances, pay more players, commission more composers, and share more music worldwide.

Among the most iconic and well-known composers of his generation, Steve Reich’s music has had a broad influence that continues to inspire music makers across genres, from techno and electronica to rock and roll. In the words of The Guardian: “There’s just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich in one of them.”

Reich was joined in conversation with Brooklyn-based painter Amy Sillman, who had two triumphal shows in New York the previous year - a show of her own work at Barbara Gladstone Gallery and a show she curated for the reopening of the Museum of Modern Art. Coincidentally, she is also Steve Reich’s cousin.

For decades, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars have been among the deftest interpreters of Reich’s music. Guitarist Mark Stewart, also a longstanding member of Reich’s touring ensemble, performed Electric Counterpoint, for solo electric guitar and 12 backing pre-recorded guitar tracks.

This double bill also featured percussionist David Cossin’s unique treatment of Reich’s Piano Phase (redubbed Piano/Video Phase), in which Cossin performed the two piano parts with percussion midi-triggers. Equal parts concert piece and live video-installation, Piano/Video Phase represented a wholly novel interpretation of Reich’s work, allowing us to see the actual structure of the piece as it unfolded.

This event coincided with the 40th Anniversary of BOMB Magazine, which has published interviews with artists since 1981 including Steve Reich and Amy Sillman. From the month of May, BOMB began celebrating its anniversary by revisiting iconic interviews from the archive—including Steve Reich’s, with a special playlist curated by Reich himself.