Steve Reich (b. 1936) is an American composer who, along with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass, pioneered minimal music in the mid to late 1960s. He graduated with honors in philosophy from Cornell University in 1957. For the next two years, he studied composition with Hall Overton, and from 1958 to 1961 he studied at the Juilliard School of Music with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. Reich received his M.A. in Music from Mills College in 1963, where he worked with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud. During the summer of 1970, with the help of a grant from the Institute for International Education, Mr. Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra. In 1973 and 1974 he studied Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang at the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle and Berkeley, California. From 1976 to 1977 he studied the traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew Scriptures in New York and Jerusalem.
Reich was awarded with the Premium Imperial Award in Music in October 2006. On January 25, 2007, Reich was named 2007 recipient of the Polar Music Prize with jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins. On April 20, 2009, Reich was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, recognizing Double Sextet, first performed in Richmond March 26, 2008. In 2012, Steve Reich received the Gold Medal in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In September 2014, Reich was awarded the "Leone d'Oro" (Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music) from the Venice Biennale. He has received honorary doctorates from the New England Conservatory of Music (2011) and the Royal College of Music in London (2016).
Reich's style of composition has influenced many other composers and musical groups, including John Adams, the progressive rock band King Crimson, the new-age guitarist Michael Hedges, the art-pop and electronic musician Brian Eno, the experimental art/music group The Residents, the composers associated with the Bang on a Can festival (including David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe), and numerous indie rock musicians including songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Reich often cites Pérotin, J. S. Bach, Debussy, Bartók, and Stravinsky as composers whom he admires and who greatly influenced him when he was young.