Terry Riley~Four Selections from NO MANS LAND
Terry Riley~Selections from NO MANS LAND
Sri Moonshine Transcontinental Blues
A Spark from the Infinite
Terrence Mitchell Riley (born June 24, 1935), is an American composer and performing musician best known as a pioneer of the minimalist school of composition. Influenced by jazz and Indian classical music, his music became notable for its innovative use of repetition, tape music techniques, and delay systems. He produced his best known works in the 1960s: the 1964 composition In C and the 1969 LP A Rainbow in Curved Air, both considered landmarks of minimalism and important influences on experimental, rock, and contemporary electronic music.
Raised in California, Riley began studying composition and performing solo piano in the 1950s. He befriended and collaborated with composer La Monte Young, and later became involved with the San Francisco Tape Music Center. A two-record deal with CBS in the late 1960s, resulting in an LP recording of In C (1968) and A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969), brought his work to wider audiences. In the 1970s, he began intensive studies under Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath, whom he often accompanied in performance. He has collaborated frequently throughout his career, most extensively with chamber ensemble the Kronos Quartet and his son, guitarist Gyan Riley.
Born in Colfax, California, in 1935, Riley began performing as a solo pianist during the 1950s. During that decade, he studied composition at San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and University of California, Berkeley, studying with Seymour Shifrin and Robert Erickson. He befriended composer La Monte Young, whose earliest minimalist compositions using sustained tones were an influence; together, Young and Riley performed Riley's improvisatory composition Concert for Two Pianists and Tape Recorders in 1959–60. Riley later became involved in the experimental San Francisco Tape Music Center, working with Morton Subotnick, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, and Ramon Sender. Throughout the 1960s he also traveled frequently in Europe, taking in musical influences and supporting himself by playing in piano bars. He also performed briefly with the Theatre of Eternal Music in New York.
His most influential teacher was Pandit Pran Nath (1918–1996), a master of Indian classical voice who also taught La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and Michael Harrison. Riley made numerous trips to India over the course of their association to study and accompany him on tabla, tambura, and voice. In 1971 he joined the Mills College faculty to teach Indian classical music. Riley also cites John Cage and "the really great chamber music groups of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, and Gil Evans" as influences on his work. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Music at Chapman University in 2007.
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