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total of 19 musicians (two ensembles)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes (Hendon Music)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Royal Opera House, London
Wayne McGregor, choreographer / Royal Ballet / Koen Kessels
Composer's Notes

Runner, for a large ensemble of winds, percussion, pianos and strings was completed in 2016 and is about 16 minutes in duration. While the tempo remains more or less constant, there are five movements , played without pause, that are based on different note durations. First even sixteenths, then irregularly accented eighths, then a very slowed down version of the standard bell pattern from Ghana, fourth a return to the irregularly accented eighths and finally a return to the sixteenths but now played as pulses by the winds for as long as a breath will comfortably sustain them. The title was suggested by the rapid opening and my awareness that, like a runner, I would have to pace the piece to reach a successful conclusion.

-Steve Reich, 2016

Commissioned by Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Ensemble Signal through New Music USA's Commissioning Music/USA program, made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund; Cal Performances, University of California, Berkeley; Washington Performing Arts, with the support of the Library of Congress Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund; and Ensemble Modern, with kind support by the City of Frankfurt am Main

Press Quotes

Runner's most powerful innovation, though, is the way the composer keeps pulling melodic threads
out of the instrumental texture and highlighting them as thematic material. This is the precise inverse of
his more common technique of weaving dense pieces out of short gestural strands, and the effect is a
potent about-face." —San Francisco Chronicle

“The final part is set to Runner, a calmly luminous orchestral piece with the pulsating, propulsive
rhythms that animate much of Mr. Reich’s music.” —New York Times

Recommended Recording

Los Angeles Philharmonic,
Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Nonesuch Records


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