Now 87, Steve Reich is busier than ever. Julian Day chats with the legendary American composer about his six-decade career, and discusses his pioneering music with several leading musicians, including Roland Peelman, who has programmed three of Reich’s groundbreaking works at this year’s Canberra International Music Festival.

Steve Reich. Photo © Jeffrey Herman.

How do you prepare to interview an artist touted by The New Yorker as “the most original musical thinker of our time”? 

Steve Reich turns 88 in October. His catalogue stretches back six decades and new recordings proliferate. According to his website, someone plays his music somewhere in the world every other day. So, I’m not so much worried about having enough questions as finding any new angle on a career canonised before I was born.

Of course,...