Extra Eclectic

Steve Reich's string quartets are like no others

Composer Steve Reich wrote his first string quartet for the Kronos Quartet in the 1980s.Jeffrey Herman

Extra Eclectic: Steve Seel interviews Steve Reich


March 13, 2023

Composer Steve Reich's style is unmistakable, and his contributions to the direction of contemporary classical music are incalculable. And yet, he says he never would have considered writing one of the core forms of classical music — a string quartet — if he hadn't been asked to by the esteemed Kronos Quartet in the 1980s. A new recording of the complete string quartets by Reich — Different Trains, Triple Quartet and WTC 9/11 — was recently released by the Mivos Quartet, featuring involvement from the composer. Steve Seel spoke with Reich by phone about his unlikely history of string quartet writing and his unusual approach of "multiplying" the quartet with prerecorded tracks. Listen using the player above.