Steve Reich and the Politics of Race with Sumanth Gopinath

Episode 109 of Sound Expertise

In light of the recent resurfacing of racist remarks that Steve Reich made in the 1970s, what are the racial politics of the composer’s canonic minimalist music? What is the history of Reich’s engagement with civil rights in works like Come Out, and does the influence of African music on his compositions represent a form of cultural appropriation? A conversation with Sumanth S Gopinath, associate professor of music theory at the University of Minnesota.

If you’re interested in learning more about Prof Gopinath’s work, check out:

(Please note one minor correction: at 50:56 of the episode, Prof Gopinath said “mid to late ’70s” when he actually meant “mid to late ’60s.”)

Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple PodcastsStitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail

A written transcript of this episode is available here; many, many thanks to Andrew Dell’Antonio for volunteering to prepare transcripts for the show!

Stay tuned for Episode 110, coming next Tuesday, September 22: an interview with Timothy Taylor on music, commodities, and capitalism!