Describe your best and worst memories of premiere performances Tim Page, Former Classical Music Critic of the Washington Post

Tim Page
Photo courtesy St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

I’ll have to choose the world premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians — April 3, 1976 at Town Hall in New York — as the most influential concert I ever attended. It opened new sonic worlds to me and literally pushed me into criticism: I HAD to react to this music somehow and I wrote about it all night, never expecting anything would be published. And I’d choose the first performance of the orchestral version of Reich’s Tehillim in 1981 as the “worst” premiere. The score was terrific — I already knew it in the original chamber version — but Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic were not at all used to this sort of music and everything fell apart. (P.S. It was much better the second night.)