Philip Glass

Biography

Born: January 31, 1937; Baltimore, MD  
Philip Glass is generally regarded as one of the most prominent composers associated with the minimalist school, the other major figures being Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and John Adams. His style is quite recognizable, owing to its seeming simplicity of repeated sounds, comprised of evolving patterns of rhythms, which are often quite complex, and rhythmic themes. In some of his early works, like Two Pages (1967), the whole of the piece evolves Read more from a single unit or idea that expands as notes are added. In later works, expansion comes via the lengthening of note values or through other inventive processes. Many describe his music in the minimalist vein as mesmerizing; others hear it as numbingly repetitive and devoid of variety in its simplicity. The latter view of his style is itself simplistic and fails to take into account the many subtleties and complexities found in his methods. Glass' mature style embraces more than just minimalism and thus must be viewed being more eclectic and far less dogmatic. There is greater emphasis on melody, less on controlling rhythmic patterns. His opera Einstein on the Beach (1975) was the first of an important triology of stage works, the other two being Satygraha (1980) and Akhnaten (1983). He is one of the most popular serious composers of the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Glass showed musical talent early on, both on violin and flute. He graduated from the University of Chicago (he moved to Chicago in his teens) at the age of 19. He next enrolled at Juilliard, and had by then rejected serial techniques in composition in favor of more conventional styles, favoring the music of Ives, Copland, and Virgil Thomson. Over the next four years he studied with Persichetti, Milhaud, and Bergsma.

He later studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and it was during this two-year period that he met and worked with sitar player Ravi Shankar, who introduced him to Indian music. He was intrigued by its sound and possibilities and attracted to Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Eventually, he even converted to Buddhism. Glass later spoke of how greatly his 1966 visit to Tibet influenced his thinking, both musically and spiritually.

After returning to New York in 1967, Glass struggled financially and had to work as a cab driver and plumber for a time. Eventually, he established the Glass Ensemble in the early '70s. This group consisted of seven players and used keyboards, woodwind instruments, and amplification of vocals. Though it also struggled at the outset, it eventually became immensely popular.

Glass' Einstein on the Beach was staged in 1976 and was his first large-scale triumph. By this time, too, his Ensemble was in greater demand, as were a good many of his other works. Since the 1980s, Glass' popularity has grown with the successes of his 1982 Company, for string quartet or string orchestra, the 1987 violin concerto, and the 1997 score, Kundun, written for the Martin Scorsese film. There have been other operas from Glass' pen, including The Fall of the House of Usher and Orphée. Among other works is the remarkable Monsters of Grace, for voices and instrumental ensemble, a mystical composition that uses light and other effects in performance.

Glass has received many awards, among which have been the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1995, from the French government. Glass continues to write music and must be regarded as among the most important composers of his time. Read less
American Classics - Glass: Violin Concerto, Etc / Anthony
Release Date: 05/16/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559056   Number of Discs: 1
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American Classics - Glass: Heroes Symphony, The Light
Release Date: 01/30/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559325   Number of Discs: 1
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Glass, Rutter, Francaix: Harpsichord Concertos / Christopher Lewis
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573146   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach, Glass / Iveta  Apkalna
Release Date: 07/10/2015   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: 1827   Number of Discs: 2
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American Classics - Glass: Symphonies No 2 & 3 / Alsop, Bournemouth So
Release Date: 11/16/2004   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559202   Number of Discs: 1
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There are 240 Philip Glass recordings available.

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Works

Philip Glass


MOST POPULAR WORKS
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Glass: Heroes
Glass: Abdul Majid
Glass: Sense Of Doubt
Glass: Sons Of The Silent Age
Glass: Neu Köln
Glass: V2 Schneider
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 1. Subterraneans
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 2. Some Are
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 3. Warszawa
Metamorphosis One
Metamorphosis Two
Metamorphosis Three
Metamorphosis Four
Metamorphosis Five
I. Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play No. 4
II. Satyagraha, Act III: Conclusion
III. Akhnaten, Scene 3: Dance
WORKS
Act I - Year 1 of Akhnaten's Reign - Thebes - Prelude: Refrain, Verse 1, Verse 2
Prelude: Verse 3
Scene 1: Funeral of Amenhotep III
Scene 2: Coronation of Aknaten
Scene 3: Window of Appearances
Act II: Years 5 to 15 - Thebes and Akhetaten - Scene 1: Temple
Scene 2: Akhnaten and Nefertiti
Scene 3: City/Dance
Narration: City/Dance
Scene 4: Hymn
Act III: Year 17 and the Present - Akhetaten - Scene 1: Family
Scene 2: Attack and Fall
Scene 3: The Ruins
Epilogue
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IV. -
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I. Dracula
II. Carriage without a Driver
III. In His Cell
IV. Van Helshing and Dracula
V. Dracula (reprise)
Glass: Heroes
Glass: Abdul Majid
Glass: Sense Of Doubt
Glass: Sons Of The Silent Age
Glass: Neu Köln
Glass: V2 Schneider
I. Mato Grosso
II. The Lake
III. The Dam
IV. To the Sea
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 1. Subterraneans
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 2. Some Are
Glass: Low Symphony (From The Music Of David Bowie And Brian Eno) - 3. Warszawa
Metamorphosis One
Metamorphosis Two
Metamorphosis Three
Metamorphosis Four
Metamorphosis Five
Naqoyqatsi
Primacy of Number
Massman
New World
Religion
Media Weather
Old World
Intensive Time
Point Blank
The Vivid Unknown
Definition
I. The Cafe
II. Orphee's Bedroom
III. Journey to the Underworld
IV. Orphee and the Princess
V. Return to Orphee's House
VI. Orphee's Return
VII. Orphee's Bedroom-Reprise
Three songs: i. There are some men
Three songs: ii. Quand les hommes vivront d'amour
Three songs: iii. Pierre de soleil
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I. The Poet Acts
II. Morning Passages
III. Something She Has to Do
IV. I'm Going to Make a Cake
V. An Unwelcome Friend
VI. Dead Things
VII. Why Does Someone Have to Die
VIII. Tearing Herself Away
IX. Escape
X. Choosing Life
XI. The Hours
The Photographer: "A Gentleman's Honor" (Vocal)
Act II
"A Gentleman's Honor"
Act III
I. Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play No. 4
II. Satyagraha, Act III: Conclusion
III. Akhnaten, Scene 3: Dance
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