T here’s something strikes me as singularly appropriate during my pilgrimage to Steve Reich’s home in remote upstate New York on an overcast day in late fall. It’s not just the house with its clean lines and functional, interiors, laden bookshelves in the lounge stretching from floor to lofty ceiling. There’s something spare, dare one say minimalist about the terrain, clean-limbed, bare twigs stretching towards an uncluttered, somewhat bleak skyline.

Steve Reich. Photo © Jeffrey Herman

When not in town, the iconic composer has lived here with his wife and sometime collaborator the video artist Beryl Korot since 2006. The house was originally built by New York architect William N. Breger, designer of the stylish Tribeca Synagogue whose striking potbellied sanctuary bulges out over a sidewalk in downtown Manhattan. By coincidence, that was the very place where Steve and Beryl got married in 1986.

Interesting though it is to chat about architecture, religion and the chances of locating an Uber when you’re essentially in the middle of nowhere, the main item on the agenda is Reich’s new work, Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, a six-way commission between, among others, the...

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