Riley, Terry (1935-)
Born in 1935 in Colfax, Calfornia, Terry Riley pursues his studies at Berkley University with among other teachers, Seymour Shifrin. During that period, he meets another young composer with a promising brilliant career, Lamonte Young.
Alongside his studies, Riley experiments with techniques such as looping magnetic tapes and working with echo machines. These experiments will pave the may to the minimalist style that will gain him fame.
Terry Riley’s musical style is based on improvisation, the key element on which his musical argument lies upon. In fact, the line is very thin between improvisation and composition, both these approaches being intimately part of his musical language.
For Riley, notation is a means to set into time something that is essentially free, continuous and spontaneous. For him, the musician has an important role in the interpretation of his music, putting his own creativity to the service of music.
For almost twenty years, Riley puts aside notation and devotes himself to studying jazz, Moroccan music of North Africa and Hindu music, styles that are based on improvisation. He will become an important follower of Pandit Pran Nath, a Hindu singer of Kirana tradition.
Thanks to his meeting with the Kronos Quartet in 1979, Riley is able to build on his new musical ideas and return to notation, to better develop a style based on the elaboration of a musical line.
Salome Dances for Peace: III The Gift (1985)
Written in 1985, Salome Dances for Peace is an ambitious epic work of more than two hours, whose goal is to break the barriers between East and West, scholarly and traditional music. The work is inspired by an improvisation on the theme of The Harp of New Albion, based around Salome, the biblical figure that uses her powers to spread peace around the world. Having committed deadly sins, she becomes a Goddess and reincarnates as a witch-shaman. Through her dancing she becomes a warrior and exerts her influence on the world.
The work is in five parts and the Molinari Quartet performs tonight the third part: The Gift.