California Composer Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic IN C in 1964. This seminal work Provided a new concept in musical form based on interlocking repetitive patterns. It's impact was to change the course of 20th Century music and it's influence has been heard in the works of prominent composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams and in the music of Rock Groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Tangerine Dream, Curved Air and many others. Terry's hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated eastern flavored improvisations and compositions set the stage for the prevailing interest in a new tonality.
While working on a masters degree at UC Berkeley in 1960, he met La Monte Young, whose radical approach to time made a big impact and the two made a life long association.
During this time Riley and Young worked out many of their seminal ideas while working with influential dancer Anna Halprin.
During a sojourn to Europe 1962-64 he collaborated with members of the Fluxus group, playwright Ken Dewey and trumpeter Chet Baker and was involved in street theater and happenings. In 1965 he moved to New York and joined La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music. 1967 was the year of his first all night concert at the Philadelphia College of Art and he began a collaboration with visual artist Robert Benson resulting in more all night concerts. Recordings of In C, A Rainbow in Curved Air, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band and the Church of Anthrax were all issued by CBS Masterworks in 1968-69.
In 1970, Terry became a disciple of the revered North Indian Raga Vocalist, Pandit Pran Nath and made the first of his numerous trips to India to study with the Master. He appeared frequently in concert with the legendary singer as tampura, tabla and vocal accompanist over the next 26 years until Pran Naths passing in 1996. He has co-directed along with Sufi Murshid, Shabda Kahn of the Chisti Sabri India music study tours 1993-2000.
Terry regularly appears in concerts of Indian Classical Music and conducts raga singing seminars.
While teaching at Mills College in Oakland in the 1970's he met David Harrington, founder and leader of the Kronos Quartet and began the long association that has so far produced 13 string quartets, a quintet, Crows Rosary and a concerto for string quartet, The Sands (1990), which was the Salzburg Festival's first new music commission and SUN RINGS (2003), the 2 hour multi media piece for choir, visuals and Space sounds, commissioned by NASA.
The Cusp of Magic (2004) another quintet for Kronos features Wu Man, pipa, and was released on Nonesuch records in 2007.
Cadenza on the Night Plain was selected by both Time and Newsweek as one of the 10 best Classical albums of the year.
The epic 5 quartet cycle, Salome Dances for Peace was selected as the #1 Classical album album of the year by USA Today and was nominated for a Grammy.
The orchestral piece Jade Palace was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the Centennial celebration 1990/91. It was premiered there by Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony.
June Buddha's, for Chorus and Orchestra, based on Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues was commissioned by the Koussevitsky foundation in 1991.