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Charles Hazlewood meets Philip Glass and Steve Reich, who added new orchestral dimensions to compositions based on repetition, transcendence and new technology.

In this episode Charles Hazlewood meets the genre's superstars Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

Across the 1960s these New Yorkers added new orchestral dimensions to compositions based on repetition, transcendence and new technology, and broke into the mainstream in the following decade. Charles explores how breakthrough techniques Reich first explored on tape were transposed for orchestral performance. Glass's experiments with repetitive structures, along with his innovative work in opera - Einstein on the Beach - revealed new possibilities for classical music.

The episode includes excerpts from minimalist pieces, including Reich's Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards performed by the Army of Generals orchestra. Charles Hazlewood's All Stars Collective performs part of Mike Oldfield's minimalist-inspired Tubular Bells.

The key attributes of minimalism, its reliance on repetition, its mesmerizing transcendent qualities and innovative use of technology are also discussed with broadcaster and writer Tom Service; director of music at the Southbank Centre, Gillian Moore; composers Laurie Spiegel, Nico Muhly, Julia Wolfe, Max Richter and Bryce Dessner; and musicians Jarvis Cocker and Adrian Utley.

59 minutes

Last on

Sat 2 Nov 2019 03:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:05

    Terry Riley

    In C

  • 00:08

    Steve Reich

    Piano Phase

    Ensemble: Double Edge.
  • 00:19

    Link Wray


  • 00:21

    Chuck Berry

    Roll Over Beethoven

  • 00:22

    Link Wray


  • 00:31

    Philip Glass

    Music In Twelve Parts, Part 12

  • 00:35


    Mamma Mia

  • 00:50

    Philip Glass


    Performer: Bruce Brubaker.


Role Contributor
Presenter Charles Hazlewood
Executive Producer Franny Moyle
Director Ben Whalley


Art of Glass

Art of Glass

Philip Glass talks to BBC Arts in 2015 about creating a new musical language.

Rhythm king

Rhythm king

Steve Reich talks to BBC Arts about his career in 2015.