Reich, Rags, and Road Movie

SXSW showcase reviews

Steve Reich
Steve Reich (Photo by Aubrey Edwards)

Reich, Rags, and Road Movie

St. David's Church, Wednesday, March 12

Organizers from Gramophone/Boosey & Hawkes cheekily declared the Steve Reich-curated contemporary music showcase the "most subversive of acts at a subversive festival." Yet the underlying note was that the overlapping galaxies of electronic and world music that long ago established the New York original a star in the firmament fit nicely with the span of SXSW. Considering that the showcase was anchored by Michelle Schumann of the Austin Chamber Music Center and the Soli Chamber Ensemble from San Antonio, Texas, demonstrated that Third Coast avant-garde is capable of keeping up with whatever standards are being set elsewhere. Schumann made powerful work of a trio of short ragtime-inflected piano pieces penned by Uzbekistan-born composer Elena Kats-Chernin, which briefly lent the church setting the flavor of a Russian salon. Then Soli violinist Ertan Torgul stepped up to join Schumann on the cinematic John Adams' composition "Road Movies," a speedy duel that passed lightening quick as the players alternated leads like a pair of stock car racers. After a musical interlude that featured the rest of the Soli players, it was time for the night's first Reich number; he was on hand, but didn't play. Countering taped notes for a sublime lesson in grace under pressure, Soli clarinet player Stephanie Key tackled "New York Counterpoint" for her second stand-alone performance of the night (she also notched a winning version of "Gra" by Reich pal Elliot Carter). Coming next, the visibly nervous guitarist C.E. Whalen conquered his fear for another tale of the tape, brilliantly re-creating Reich's "Electric Counterpoint," originally composed for Pat Metheny. Capping the night were Reich specialists So Percussion, who brought forth the master's atomic polyrhythms in style.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

SXSW Gaming: Noclip Says Love Your Developers
SXSW Gaming: Noclip Says Love Your Developers
Danny O’Dwyer wants you to understand who is making your games

Tucker Whatley, March 16, 2019

SXSW Film Review: <i>The Day Shall Come</i>
Film Review: The Day Shall Come
British satirist Chris Morris takes aim at security theater

Richard Whittaker, March 16, 2019

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
George Ensle
Home (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
D.C. Bloom
Pack Up the Moon (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 19, 2019

More by Dan Oko
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
10pm, Antone's

March 15, 2013

Ballroom Dancing
SXSW Keynote: Dave Grohl
SXSW panel reviews

March 15, 2013



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle