City Life was performed February 24 & 25, 2012 at the Capitol Theater, Columbus as part of the Drums Downtown event created by the OSU School of Music, in collaboration with the Department of Dance and ACCAD.
Real time computer animation accompanies the live ensemble performing Steve Reich's 24 minute composition. Behind the performers, a 35 x 20 foot rear projection screen displayed the computer animation using an array of HD projectors. The animation was rendered in real time from a computer back stage, and was performed in synch to the live music using a handheld game controller.
The animation was designed specifically for the live performance and as visual interpretation of Reich's composition. In this regard, the visuals are minimalistic and have long durations with the intent to let the viewers' eyes and minds wander as they absorb the music and observe the interplay of the live musicians on stage.
City Life is a minimalist composition by Steve Reich written in 1995. It is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 vibraphones, unpitched percussion, 2 samplers, 2 pianos, string quartet, and double bass. It uses digital samplers amongst the instruments used in performance, and these play back a wide variety of sounds and speech samples, including car horns, air brakes, car alarms and many other sounds associated with the city.