California composer Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic "In C" in 1964. This seminal work provided the conception for a form comprised of interlocking repetitive patterns that was to change the course of 20th century music and strongly influence the works of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams as well as rock groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Curved Air, Tangerine Dream and many others. In the 60's and 70's he 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 has frequently appeared with Pandit Pran Nath as vocal and tamboura accompanist.
Terry taught North Indian Raga and music composition during his years at Mills College in Oakland, California, in the 1970's. It was there he met David Harrington, the founder and 1st violinist in the Kronos Quartet and began the long association that has produced 9 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. The epic 5 quartet cycle, "Salome Dances for Peace", was selected as the #1 Classical Album Of The Year by USA Today magazine and was nominated for a Grammy.
Riley's innovative seven-movement orchestral work, "Jade Palace", was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for their centennial celebration 1990/1991 and performed there by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. "June Buddhas", a three- movement work for chorus and orchestra based on the choruses from the Mexico City Blues of Jack Kerouac was commissioned by the Koussevitzky foundation in 1991.
Terry Riley has written for a variety of new music ensemble including the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Array Music of Toronto, Zeitgeist, Stephen Scott's bowed piano ensemble, The California EAR Unit, guitarist David Tanenbaum, the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, pianist Werner Baertschi and the Amati String Quartet. In 1989 he formed the new performance ensemble KHAYAL which specializes in group vocal and instrumental improvisation.
In 1992, Terry formed a small theater company, The Travelling Avantt-Gaard, to perform his opera/theater piece "The Saint Adolf Ring" based on the divinely mad drawings, poetry, writings and mathematical calculations of Adolf Woelfi, an early 20th century Swiss artist.
Riley's solo keyboard and piano concerts have become somewhat legendary due to his unique blending of eastern and western styles and the unusual all-night solo concerts he gave in the 60's. He was listed in the London Sunday Times as one of the 1000 Makers Of The 20th Century.
* Cadenza on the Night Plain; Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector; Mythic Birds Waltz; G Song - for String Quartet: 1984 (Kronos Quartet; Gramavision, R22Z 79444 2) * Chanting the Light of Foresight (Rova Sax Quartet; New Albion, NA064) * Descending Moonshine Dervishes (T.Riley, electric organ; Kuckuck, 11047-4) * The Harp of New Albion (T.Riley, piano; Celestial Harmonies, CEL 018/19) * In C (T.Riley & members of the Buffalo NY State University Center of the Creative & Performing Arts; CBS, MK 07178) * In C; Music of a Thousand Springs; Zen (Ch'an) of Water (T.Riley and Shanghai Film Orchestra, played on traditional Chinese instruments; Celestial Harmonies, CEL 13026-2) * In C: the 25th Anniversary Concert (T.Riley, Rova, H.Kaiser et al; New Albion, NA071) * June Buddhas (from Mexico City Blues) (D.R.Davies, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; MusicMasters, 01612-67089-2) * The Padova Concert: solo piano improvisations from the Harp of New Albion and Salome Dances for Peace, T.Riley, piano; 1992 (Amiata Records, ARNR 0292) * Persian Surgery Dervishes: 1993 (New Tone Records, 129806715-2) * A Rainbow in Curved Air; Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band: 1969 (T.Riley, electric organ, electric harpsichord; CBS, MK 07315) * Salome Dances for Peace: 1989 (Kronos Quartet; Elektra/Nonesuch, 79217-2) * Shri Camel [Anthem of the Trinity; Celestial Valley; Across the Lake of the Ancient Word; Desert of Ice]: 1980 (T.Riley, electric organ; CBS MK 35164) * Songs for the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets [Embroidery; Eastern Man; Chorale of the Blessed Day] (T.Riley, vocals & synthesizers; Kuckuck, 12047-2) _________________________________________________________________
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