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Philip Glass

Born: 1937

Nationality: American

Publisher: Chester Music

Photo © Jim Ball


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar's Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach, for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). In the past few years several new works were unveiled, including an opera on the death of Walt Disney, The Perfect American (co-commissioned by Teatro Real, Madrid and the English National Opera), a song cycle entitled, Ifé, written for Angelique Kidjo, a new touring production of Einstein, and the publication of Glass's memoir, Words Without Music, by Liveright Books. In May 2015, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, performed the world premiere of a double piano concerto Glass wrote for Katia and Marielle Labèque.

In November 2015, the Washington National Opera premiered a revised version of Glass's opera, Appomattox, created in collaboration with librettist Christopher Hampton. Glass celebrated his 80th birthday on January 31st, 2017 at Carnegie Hall with the world premiere of Symphony No. 11. His 80th birthday season featured curated programming and premieres around the globe, including the US premieres of operas The Trial and The Perfect American, the Double Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, and the world premiere of Piano Concerto No. 3, written for Simone Dinnerstein, and String Quartet No. 8, written for the JACK Quartet.

Glass holds the Carnegie Hall 2017-2018 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair. Glass's first Piano Quintet will premiere in Lincoln, Nebraska in April 2018. Upcoming commissions for Glass include a percussion work with Third Coast Percussion, and the highly anticipated Symphony No. 12, based on the album Lodger and a completion of the David Bowie and Brian Eno Berlin Trilogy. Symphony No. 12 will receive its world premiere at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in early 2019 and a European Premiere at the Southbank Centre in May 2019. Glass continues to perform around the globe with world renowned musicians.

— January 2018
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