Terry Riley as composer/performer has spanned over 6 decades starting in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1950’s and continuing
up to the present time in Japan.
He is considered along with LaMonte Young to be the founder of Minimalism. The 1964 composition IN C defined the repetitive style influencing generations of young composers looking for an alternative to modernism that had been the dominant trend up to that time. The early recordings of IN C and A Rainbow in Curved Air became popular with fans of Jazz, Psychedelic, Rock and Classical making them among the first to break down the previous musical barriers separating these fields.

He has written in many classical ensemble formats, solo guitar, guitar duo ,solo piano, piano 4-hands, piano quintet, piano, violin and percussion, string trio, string quartet, cello octet, saxophone quartet, string quartet and synthesizer, sax quartet and synthesizer, a cappella mixed choir, children choir with accordion and harp, children choir with toy pianos, brass instruments and percussion and a wind/string sextet to name a few.

Terry has also written for large orchestra, a violin concerto, an electric violin concerto, a concerto for violin 2 guitars and harp, a piano concerto for electro acoustic ensemble and an organ concerto.

He has written over 24 works for Kronos Quartet including a string quartet concerto soon to be released with the Cleveland symphony.
He has scored or collaborated on scores for 4 major films.

Terry has worked with notable jazz musicians Don Cherry, Chet Baker and John Zorn. Rock musicians John Cale and Daevid Allen and the electronic duo, Matmos.



“I feel quite honored to be asked by the Galaxy festival to make a monument to represent my impression of Sado Island during my residency there in September 2021. My first consideration was to make something that would be lasting …possibly for many generations. The second was to make something that would endure without the limitations of today’s technology. Wakarimasen was one of the first phrases that I learned in Nihongo and I soon wrote a melody using this word. When I conceived of making the monument of two arms emerging from the earth, I envisioned chimes hanging down from the hands and tuned to this melody. This solved the issue of having a monument that would endure and represent a phrase of music I created while in Japan.
The monument is altogether 3 meters high and the arms, which are 2 meters long, sit on a base of 1 meter. People who visit the monument will be able to play the melody with wooden beaters which will be available near the monument. The sequence of the melody is to start on the thumb side of the left arm for the ascending scale of the melody and then come back from the “”pinky”” side of the right arm finishing at the thumb of the right arm. Of course the chimes can be played in any order if one chooses. I envision that the chimes will be constructed of stainless steel or a metal of equivocal resonance.”


Kitazawa Observatory
Aikawa Area
Aikawasakashitamachi, Sado, Niigata 952-1505

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