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September 20, 2011

Steve Reich - WTC 9/11 Out Now

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich’s album WTC 9/11 is out now on Nonesuch Records. The title work was commissioned for and recorded by the Kronos Quartet. The album also includes Reich’s Mallet Quartet, performed by Sō Percussion, and Dance Patterns, featuring members of Steve Reich and Musicians. The album is available digitally on our website, including the bonus track Tusen Tankar (listen here). CDs - which include a DVD with a live performance of Reich’s Mallet Quartet by Sō Percussion - are available from Nonesuch and Amazon.

WTC 9/11 reflects on the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, when Reich and his family lived only four blocks away from the site of the tragedy. “On 9/11 we were in Vermont, but our son, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law were all in our apartment. Our phone connection stayed open for six hours and our next-door neighbors were finally able to drive north out of the city with their family and ours. For us, 9/11 was not a media event,” says Reich.

The piece is scored for three string quartets, all recorded by Kronos. WTC 9/11 also uses pre-recorded voices, with the speakers’ final vowels and consonants elongated in a stop-motion sound technique that Reich says is the “means of connecting one person to another—harmonically.” The voices and their texts belong to NORAD air traffic controllers, as they raised the alert that the airplanes were off course; FDNY workers on the scene; friends and former neighbors of the Reichs, recalling that day; and women who kept vigil, or Shmira, over the dead in a tent outside the Medical Examiner’s office, reading Psalms or Biblical passages.

The relationship between Steve Reich and Kronos Quartet spans more than 20 years. This is the third quartet the composer has written for Kronos. Upcoming performances of WTC 9/11 include Cal Performances in Berkeley, CA (Oct 9), Melbourne Festival (Oct 19), The Glaser Center in Santa Rosa, CA (Dec 2), Cité de la musique in Paris (Jan 18), and more. See the full list here.

WTC 9/11 was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the Barbican/London, Carnegie Hall, Duke Performances/Duke University, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This commission was also made possible by the Chamber Music America Commissioning Program, with funding generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. Kronos’ recording of Tusen Tankar was made possible by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Buy the album digitally - including bonus track Tusen Tankar - here. CDs are available from Nonesuch and Amazon. Learn more about the piece here.

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