California Composer Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic In C in 1964. This seminal work provided a new concept in musical form based on interlocking repetitive patterns. It's impact was to change the course of 20th Century music and it's influence has been heard in the works of prominent composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams and in the music of Rock Groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Tangerine Dream, Curved Air and many others. Terry's hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated eastern flavored improvisations and compositions set the stage for the prevailing interest in a New Tonality.
Riley's innovative first orchestral piece Jade Palace was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the Centennial celebration 1990/91. It was premiered there by Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony. June Buddha's, for Chorus and Orchestra, based on Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues was commissioned by the Koussevitsky foundation in 1991. The Rova Saxophone Quartet, the Arte saxophone quartet, Array Music, Zeitgeist, the Steven Scott Bowed Piano Ensemble, The California E.A.R. unit, Guitarist's David Tanenbaum, the Assad brothers. Cello Conjunto, the Abel Steinberg-Winant Trio, Pianist Werner Bartschi and the Amati Quartet are some of the performers and ensembles who have commissioned and performed his works.
From 1989 to1993 he formed and lead the ensemble Khayal to perform works written for them. He subsequently formed The Allstars and the Vigil Band. He regularly performs solo piano concerts of his works from the past 30 years. He also appears in duo concerts with Indian Sitarist Krishna Bhatt, Saxophonist George Brooks, Gyan Riley and especially with virtuoso Italian bassist, Stefano Scodanibbio. In 1992, he formed the small theater company, The Travelling-Avantt-Gaard to perform the chamber opera The Saint Adolf Ring based on the divinely mad drawings, poetry, writings and mathematical calculations of Adolf Woelfli, an early 20th century Swiss Artist who suffered from schizophrenia and created his entire output over a 35 year span while confined in a mental institution.
Terry is currently at work on a set of 24 pieces for guitar and guitar ensemble called The Book of Abbeyozzud and has recently completed a book of 5 pieces for piano, four hands. In 1999 he was commissioned by the Norwich Festival to compose a new work, WHAT THE RIVER SAID, which toured Britain with the UK based group, Sounds Bazaar featuring the great drupad vocalist Amelia Cuni. Then followed a commission from the Kanagawa Foundation in Yokohama to create an evening length work for solo piano in micro tonal tuning. THE DREAM, which received simultaneous premiers in Rome and in Yokohama performed by the composer.