London conservatoire Trinity Laban has awarded an Honorary Fellowship to American minimalist composer Steve Reich in recognition of his contribution to music.

The Fellowship was presented during a celebratory event last month at the conservatoire’s Faculty of Music, which opened with a performance of Reich’s Electric Counterpoint arranged for electric viola by Nic Pendlebury, Trinity Laban’s head of Strings. Reich, who was visiting London for the UK premiere of his new piece Reich/Richter at the Barbican, gave a standing ovation and commented: ‘The idea that Electric Counterpoint would be bowed had never occurred to me. I want to thank Nic for a beautiful surprise.’

Head of Composition at Trinity Laban Dominic Murcott then invited the composer to the stage for an interview and Q&A with students. The afternoon concluded with the awarding of the Honorary Fellowship, presented to Reich by Trinity Laban’s director of Dance, Sara Matthews.

Read by Trinity Laban principal Anthony Bowne, the award citation included the following tribute: ‘The impact that Steve Reich’s work has had on today’s music making can hardly be overstated. He is routinely described as one of a few living composers who has altered the trajectory of music, or more simply: America’s greatest living composer. He is responsible, perhaps more than anyone, for widening the audience of today’s classical music.’