Steve Reich and Philip Glass reunite after 30 years for Nonesuch Anniversary

Steve Reich and Philip Glass reunite after 30 years for Nonesuch Anniversary

There is an open secret in the avant-garde world: Steve Reich and Philip Glass were once a crime-fighting duo of superheroes, back in what was then the Silver Age of Superheroes. Using their then-newfangled powers of minimalism to take down mafiosos and small crooks, dispatch alien overlords, and defeat the entire Pentagon. Their exploits were renowned, especially when Reich used tape loops and Glass used hidden fifths together to stop the third Kennedy from being assassinated.

However, something went wrong, somewhere around 1971. Few know the details, but I was able to glean from the ghost of Lou Reed (who knew from his wife Laurie Anderson) that a dispute over an English Terrier that was to be their mascot/distress signal. A fight broke out, causing the English Terrier to be transported to another dimension on accident. This would trigger the end of the Silver Age: Each composer superhero blamed the other, started their own superhero teams (Steve Reich and Musicians and the Philip Glass Ensemble), drifting slowly apart until another unknown spat involving pulses caused them to cut each other off sometime in the late 1970s, which has remained since.

Fast forward to now. Nonesuch Records, trying to wash off the stains of dad rock from their floors and regain glory as an alternative classical label, sought to blow off the doors with their 50th anniversary celebration. While Robert Plant would be a surefire way to get people’s attention, he is one part Death Water, which isn’t that gratifying. They needed to go back to their roots. They needed to bring that legendary duo together once more.

So, after much bloodletting and sacrificing seventh chords (and Jeff Tweedy’s hair), Nonesuch called Glass and Reich into their office, and handed them the lost English Terrier. “He is called Judge now,” they said. “Will you get back to fighting crime for our sake?” The two looked at each other and shrugged. “Sure, I guess,” said Steven. “But we’ll need some time to set things up.”

Thus, opening Nonesuch’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Reich and Glass will have their superhero teams come together to play Music For 18 Musicians, Music in Twelve Parts, Einstein on the Beach, and Four Organs over the course of three nights in September. Then, the two will take to the skies of New York City, fighting off modern criminals such as dealers, investment bankers, and lobbying groups, while Caetano Veloso, Plant, and others play their hits.

Nonesuch Records at BAM:

09.09.14-09.11.14 - The Philip Glass Ensemble & Steve Reich and Musicians *
09.09.14 - Brad Mehldau **
09.10.14 - Brad Mehldau & Chris Thile **
09.11.14 - Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish **
09.12.14-09.13.14 - Alarm Will Sound **
09.12.14-09.13.14 - Youssou N’Dour *
09.18.14 - Rhiannon Giddens *
09.19.14 - Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt, and Iron and Wine *
09.20.14 - Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney *
09.23.14-09.27.14 - Landfall, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet **
09.24.14 - Rokia Traoré, Toumani Diabaté, and Sidiki Diabaté *
09.25.14-09.26.14 - Caetano Veloso *
09.27.14-09.28.14 - Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters *

* Howard Gilman Opera House
** Harvey Theater

• Steve Reich:
• Philip Glass:
• Nonesuch Records:
• Brooklyn Academy of Music:

Most Read