Philip Glass

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    Understanding the Music: Glass - Symphony No. 7-A Toltec Symphony


Born in 1937, Baltimore native Philip Glass was began his formal music education at the age of six with violin and flute lessons. By his second year of high school, he was accepted for admission to the University of Chicago, where his studies focused on mathematics and philosophy and not music. During off-hours, however, Glass studied piano under such composers as Ives and Webern. Graduating at 19, he moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School and studied with Vincent Persichetti, Darius Milhaud, and William Bergsma. In 1960, he moved to Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger. While in Paris, Glass immersed himself in the techniques of Indian music when hired by filmmaker Conrad Roods to transcribe ragas by Ravi Shankar into western notation. After researching music in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, he returned to New York and applied these techniques to his own work.

Glass created such works as Music in Twelve Parts (1974), a three-hour summation of Glass' new music, followed by Einstein on the Beach (1976) a five-hour epic created with Robert Wilson that is now seen as a landmark in 20th century music-theater. His film scores have include Godfrey Reggio's trilogy Koyaanisqatsi (1983), Errol Morris' The Thin Blue Line (1988), and Martin Scorsese's Kundun (1997) which won Glass the L.A. Critics Award(r), and the Academy and Golden Globe(r) nominations for Best Original Score. He also composed original music for Peter Weir's The Truman Show (1998), which won a Golden Globe Award (r) for Best Score in 1999. He also scored recent thrillers Taking Lives and Secret Window in 2004. Today, Glass remains active composing and playing.
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