STEVE REICH: ‘Rock was pretty much off my radar – then along came Radiohead’

The composer credited with creating Minimalism tells Phil Johnson about discovering his own kind of music.

"I grew up in the Forties with the hit parade, broadway shows and even Rhapsody in Blue. I took piano lessons like most middle-class kids but I never played or heard anything before Haydn or after Wagner. It wasn't until I was 14, in 1950, that music became the centre of my life. I heard The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky and discovered an absolutely new world. Right after that, I heard the Fifth Brandenburg by J S Bach and then bebop with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and drummer Kenny Clarke. A good friend was a better pianist than I and he was studying jazz. We decided to start a band and we had to have a drummer – I said, "That's me", and I immediately began studying snare drum with Roland Kohloff – who later became tympanist with the New York Philharmonic."