The highly influential avant-garde composer Steve Reich is so well-respected that he is often considered America's greatest living composer, even winning the prestigious Pulitzer Price for Music in 2009. Raised in a middle class family in the 1940s, Reich didn't have much contact with music until the age of 14, when he discovered the Baroque period then American jazz. Initially beginning his forays into music by studying the jazz drum, Reich used this as a basis for his experimentation with twelve-tone composition rhythms in the 1960s, scoring a few avant-garde films in the process. Reich then became interested in African music in the 70s, pioneering the technique of phase shifting and meshing it with augmentation. His music became darker in the 80s, using historical and religious themes as a basis for composition and the 90s marked his blending of classical instruments with modern looping and sampling techniques. An impressively diverse and prolific composer, Reich still continues to perform and release new, groundbreaking material today.