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340 Star Starred
Royce Hall at UCLA
340 Royce Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095
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Quotes & Highlights

Riley’s seminal 1964 work In C is considered a musical landmark, “as much a watershed as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.” —Wall Street Journal


Terry Riley’s hypnotic, multi-layered compositions have revolutionized contemporary music, launching what is now known as the Minimalist movement and influencing such musicians as Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet and The Who. His seminal 1964 work In C is considered a musical landmark, “as much a watershed as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.

Highlights of this monumental event honoring this titan of 20th century music include Japanese psych rock band Acid Mothers Temple’s blistering version of In C, left-field electronica act Matmos’ audiovisual homage, and the premiere of Riley’s surround sound reprise of his classic A Rainbow in Curved Air featuring William Winant, percussion.

In this UCLA Live performance, Bay Area electronic innovators Matmos present a special multimedia composition titled, “For Terry Riley,” a video/electronica tribute featuring samples from the Kronos Quartet’s performance of Riley’s “Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector,” which includes everyday objects such as a record rack, a deep fat fryer, and a hubcap. Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel and during their decade-long collaboration, they have boldly featured exotic sounds ranging from cards shuffling to aspirin tablets hitting a drum kit from across the room.

The program continues with the avant-garde psychedelic Japanese soul collective, Acid Mothers Temple, performing Riley’s masterpiece, “In C.” In 2001, they released an album featuring a reinterpretation of this classic. Acid Mothers Temple is a collective of like-minded individuals led by Kawabata Makoto. There are currently around 30 members, famous and unknown musicians, artists, dancers, farmers, and others who play trip music and rock ‘n’ roll.

In the ’60s and ’70s, Terry Riley turned his attention to solo works for electronic keyboards and soprano saxophone and pioneered the use of various kinds of tape delay in live performance resulting in another set of milestone works, “A Rainbow in Curved Air,” “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band,” “The Persian Surgery Dervishes” and “Shri Camel.” These hypnotic, multi-layered polymetric, brightly orchestrated, eastern flavored improvisations set the stage for the new age movement that was to appear a decade or so later.

In 1970, Riley made his first of a series of trips to India to study with renowned North Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath. Over the years he frequently appeared with Pandit Pran Nath as vocal and tamboura accompanist. Riley taught North Indian Raga and music composition during his years at Mills College in Oakland, California, in the ’70s. There he met David Harrington, the founder and first violinist of the Kronos Quartet, and began the long association that has produced nine string quartets; a keyboard quintet, “Crows Rosary;” and a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, “The Sands,” commissioned by the Salzberg Festival in 1991. “Cadenza on the Night Plain” was selected by both Time and Newsweek as one of the 10 Best Classical Albums of The Year in 1985. The epic five quartet cycle, “Salome Dances for Peace,” was selected as the #1 Classical Album of the Year by USA Today newspaper and was nominated for a Grammy in 1989.

Riley’s solo keyboard and piano concerts have become legendary due to his unique blending of eastern and western styles and the unusual all-night solo concerts he gave in the ’60s. He was listed in the London Sunday Times as one of the 1000 Makers of the 20th Century.

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