Philip Glass

Composer
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with numerous artists, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. And choreographers around the world have been inspired by his music to create their works. His operas – Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten, and The Voyage, among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours or Martin Scorsese’s Kundun. His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Philip Glass was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer. The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty five operas, large and small; twelve symphonies, thirteen concertos; soundtracks to films; nine string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

(Information as of 2022)