Celebrating “In C”s Terry Riley at 80

Posted on: June 22, 2015

“This week marks the 80th birthday of the composer Terry Riley, whose pioneering 1964 piece ‘In C’ helped start the musical genre known as minimalism,” reads a Thursday (6/18) post at NPR radio program Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen. “According to John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s Soundcheck and New Sounds, ‘In C’ ‘opened the floodgates for Philip Glass and Steve Reich,’ the composers we associate with minimalism…. ‘In C’ is made up of short musical phrases, each of which gets repeated for as long as each player in the ensemble feels like it, and it can be played by any number of musicians…. The first recording of ‘In C’ came out in 1968, and by then Riley had moved on to creating tape loops and synthesizer music that became a big influence for Krautrock bands like Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream—as well as for The Who, who paid tribute to Riley in the famous opening to ‘Baba O’Riley.’ … More than 50 years later, ‘In C’s influence continues to be felt, both in contemporary classical and in pop music.… No two performances are ever quite the same—and that’s kind of the point.” Terry Riley turns 80 on June 24.

Posted June 22, 2015