Triple Anniversary for Steve Reich, Colin Currie Group and Drumming
December the 3rd 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the World Premiere of ‘Drumming’ by Steve Reich – in the composer’s 85th year and marking 15 whole years of my ensemble, Colin Currie Group, which was founded initially in order to perform that exact work.
In 2006 Steve turned 70 and the BBC approached me about an event to mark that occasion, as is well documented. The journey since then has been extraordinary, the most recent chapter featuring the world premiere of ‘Traveler’s Prayer’ in a four city European tour and another chance to celebrate his vast, rich and diverse musical output live in concert.
I will always think of ‘Drumming’ as my main gateway to his music however. It is the piece of his we have played the most and the one that also led to the foundation of record company, Colin Currie Records, which is largely devoted to putting his music on disc. It was also the first piece that Steve heard us perform, establishing the strong connection between us that continues to this day at London’s Southbank Centre.
Every time we play this work (most recently in Cardiff, at the ‘Festival of Voice’) I never fail to get that unique kick out of the fluid unpredictability of the music, the spur of the moment magic that is inevitably conjured, its simple yet profound logic, its profundity and incredibly ‘avant-garde’ credentials that still sound so daring.
To mark the occasion we would like to release an exclusive film we made of Part I of the work during lockdown, in celebration of this music and bridging its return to the concert hall. Click here to watch. ‘Drumming’ will always be a masterpiece for audiences to revel in and it has been an incredible honour to study and perform the work with such a brilliant group of musicians.
Happy Birthday Drumming, here’s to the next 50!
“A Drumming for this decade – and probably a few to come, too.”
Editor’s Choice, Gramophone, April 2018
“This recording of Steve Reich’s percussion epic is thunderously exciting, thrusting us into the action.”
The Times, five stars, March 2018