BAM has presented the music of longtime artistic colleague/composer/performer Steve Reich since 1971, when world premiere performances of Drumming took place at BAM, MoMA, and Town Hall. In 1982, Steve Reich and Musicians performed Vermont Counterpoint,Tehillim,and other works as part of the Next Wave Series (an early program that led to the development of the Next Wave Festival). The U.S.premiere of Reich's The Desert Music-conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas leading the Brooklyn Philharmonic-took place during the 1984 Next Wave Festival. In 1993, Steve Reich and Beryl Korot's The Cavemade its U.S.premiere at BAM's Opera House; Music for 18 Musicians, a Grammy Award-winning composition, and Hindenburgwere performed by the Steve Reich Ensemble at the Next Wave Festival in 1998. In 2002, BAM presented the New York premiere of Reich/Korot's Three Tales-a three-part digital documentary video opera-one part of which was the previously performed Hindenburg.
For many years, Reich's compositions have also been performed at BAM as part of diverse instrumental and dance programming-Reich collaborated with the Laura Dean Dance Company on a 1975 program, and that company, along with Reich, later performed the composer's Impact (later Sextet) at the 1985 Next Wave Festival; the Brooklyn Philharmonic performed "The Music of Steve Reich," conducted by Kent Nagano, at the 1987 Next Wave Festival; a 1999 Brooklyn Philharmonic program entitled "Music & Religion" featured the music of Reich, Stravinsky, and Bach; and the Kronos Quartet played selections from The Caveas part of a 1995 program.