The Kennedy Center

Philip Glass

Video and Audio

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

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    In Conversation: Philip Glass on Historical Operas

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    In Conversation: Philip Glass discusses Christopher Hampton

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    In Conversation: Philip Glass



Biography

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 new touring production of Einstein, the publication of Glass’s memoir, Words Without Music, by Liveright Books, and the premiere of the revised version of Glass’s opera Appomattox, in collaboration with librettist Christopher Hampton, at the Washington National Opera in November 2015.

Glass celebrated his 80th birthday on January 31, 2017 with the world premiere of Symphony No. 11 at Carnegie Hall. His 80th birthday season featured curated programming around the globe, including the U.S. premieres of operas The Trial and The Perfect American, and world premieres of several new works, including Piano Concerto No. 3, String Quartet No. 8, and his first Piano Quintet.
Other recent accolades include the U.S. National Medal of the Arts, presented to Glass by President Barack Obama in 2015. In 2016, Glass was named the 11th recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize, a lifetime achievement award given to prominent musicians. He was also honored to hold Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair throughout the 2017-2018 season.

On January 10, 2019, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will present the world premiere of Glass’ Symphony No. 12, based on David Bowie’s album Lodger and a completion of three symphonies based on Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. Glass continues to perform solo piano evenings, chamber music evenings with world renowned musicians, and regularly appears with the Philip Glass Ensemble.
Philip Glass

Compositions