Steve Reich (1936- )
The greatest living composer and one of the founders of minimalism, Steve Reich's music is never as, well, boring, as Philip Glass, in my opinion. Instead of endless repetition with a few arpeggiating variations, Reich takes a pulsing, staccato beat and subtly makes it grow with slowly shifting meters, chords, and instrumentation. If you're familiar with Sufjan Stevens (if not, see Seth's post), Reich is his major classical influence. In Reich's most famous work, Music for 18 Musicians (1974), considered the definitive minimalist piece, he creates amazing, hypnotic soundscapes with conventional instruments. A cello, a violin, three female voices, three marimbas, two clarinets, four pianos, two xylophones, a vibraphone, and maracas are able to collectively sound like something Radiohead made on a computer. And Music for 18 Musicians is a great piece to begin exploring the minimalist genre with; it is nowhere near as repetetive as other pieces. Reich himself says that the first five minutes of the piece had more harmonic movement than any other piece he'd written.
Steve Reich- Music for 18 Musicians
(Thanks to themiserablist for the music)
Requests? Feedback? Feel free to leave a comment.