Philip Glass reflects on his career to date including addressing why he isn’t a minimalist, his early years as an up-and-coming artist in New York which saw him supplement his income with stints as a plumber and cab driver, and what he thinks the future is for classical music.
American composer Philip Glass is one of the world’s most popular living composers. He has written prolifically for the stage, his works including several ballets and more than twenty operas. The Linbury Studio Theatre has been the site of two UK premieres of Glass chamber operas, with The Royal Opera producing Orphée in 2005 and Music Theatre Wales In the Penal Colony in 2010. In 2014 MTW gave the world premiere of Glass’s chamber opera The Trial in the Linbury. in the 2016/17 Season Javier De Frutos creates a new production of Glass’s dance opera Les Enfants Terribles for The Royal Ballet in the Barbican Theatre.
Glass was born in Baltimore and studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, and with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar. In 1967 he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble in New York. By 1974 had created a large collection of new music for the Philip Glass Ensemble and Mabou Mines Theater Company, culminating in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach. He went on to expand his repertory to include music for opera, dance, theatre, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His film scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Further works include the operas Appomattox and The Perfect American (a co-commission between Teatro Real, Madrid, and English National Opera), the song cycle Ifé for Angelique Kidjo, the Double Piano Concerto for Katia and Marielle Labèque and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and his memoir Words Without Music (Liveright Publishing).
Glass presents lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances around the world and has created collaborations with such figures as David Bowie, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, Doris Lessing and Twyla Tharp.