72 Facts About Philip Glass


Philip Glass was born on January 31,1937 and is an American composer and pianist.


Philip Glass is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century.


Philip Glass describes himself as a composer of "music with repetitive structures", which he has helped evolve stylistically.


Philip Glass has written fifteen operas, numerous chamber operas and musical theatre works, fourteen symphonies, twelve concertos, nine string quartets and various other chamber music, and many film scores.


Philip Glass was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 31,1937, the son of Ida and Benjamin Charles Philip Glass.


Philip Glass's father owned a record store and his mother was a librarian.


Philip Glass developed a plan to help them learn English and develop skills so they could find work.


Philip Glass developed his appreciation of music from his father, discovering later his father's side of the family had many musicians.


Philip Glass's cousin Cevia was a classical pianist, while others had been in vaudeville.


Philip Glass learned his family was related to Al Jolson.


Philip Glass spent many hours listening to them, developing his knowledge and taste in music.


The elder Philip Glass promoted both new recordings and a wide selection of composers to his customers, sometimes convincing them to try something new by allowing them to return records they did not like.


Philip Glass built a sizable record collection from the unsold records in his father's store, including modern classical music such as Hindemith, Bartok, Schoenberg, Shostakovich and Western classical music including Beethoven's string quartets and Schubert's B Piano Trio.


Philip Glass cites Schubert's work as a "big influence" growing up.


Philip Glass studied the flute as a child at the Peabody Preparatory of the Peabody Institute of Music.


In 1954, Philip Glass traveled to Paris, where he encountered the films of Jean Cocteau, which made a lasting impression on him.


Philip Glass studied at the Juilliard School of Music where the keyboard was his main instrument.


Together with Akalaitis, Philip Glass in turn attended performances by theatre groups including Jean-Louis Barrault's Odeon theatre, The Living Theatre and the Berliner Ensemble in 1964 to 1965.


In parallel with his early excursions in experimental theatre, Philip Glass worked in winter 1965 and spring 1966 as a music director and composer on a film score with Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha, which added another important influence on Philip Glass's musical thinking.


Philip Glass renounced all his compositions in a moderately modern style resembling Milhaud's, Aaron Copland's, and Samuel Barber's, and began writing pieces based on repetitive structures of Indian music and a sense of time influenced by Samuel Beckett: a piece for two actresses and chamber ensemble, a work for chamber ensemble and his first numbered string quartet.


Philip Glass then left Paris for northern India in 1966, where he came in contact with Tibetan refugees and began to gravitate towards Buddhism.


Philip Glass met Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, in 1972, and has been a strong supporter of the Tibetan independence ever since.


Philip Glass' music is indelibly a part of our cultural lingua franca, just a click away on YouTube.


Shortly after arriving in New York City in March 1967, Philip Glass attended a performance of works by Steve Reich, which left a deep impression on him; he simplified his style and turned to a radical "consonant vocabulary".


Between summer of 1967 and the end of 1968, Philip Glass composed nine works, including Strung Out, Gradus, Music in the Shape of a Square, How Now and 1+1 which were "clearly designed to experiment more fully with his new-found minimalist approach".


Apart from his music career, Philip Glass had a moving company with his cousin, the sculptor Jene Highstein, and worked as a plumber and cab driver.


Philip Glass recounts installing a dishwasher and looking up from his work to see an astonished Robert Hughes, Time magazine's art critic, staring at him.


In 1970, Philip Glass returned to the theatre, composing music for the theatre group Mabou Mines, resulting in his first minimalist pieces employing voices: Red Horse Animation and Music for Voices.


Philip Glass continued his work with a series of instrumental works, called Another Look at Harmony.


Glass turned to other media; two multi-movement instrumental works for the Philip Glass Ensemble originated as music for film and TV: North Star and four short cues for the children's TV series Sesame Street named Geometry of Circles.


The piece demonstrates Philip Glass's turn to more traditional models: the composer added a conclusion to an open-structured piece which "can be interpreted as a sign that he [had] abandoned the radical non-narrative, undramatic approaches of his early period", as the pianist Steffen Schleiermacher points out.


In spring 1978, Philip Glass received a commission from the Netherlands Opera which "marked the end of his need to earn money from non-musical employment".


For Satyagraha, Philip Glass worked in close collaboration with two "SoHo friends": the writer Constance deJong, who provided the libretto, and the set designer Robert Israel.


Shortly after completing the score in August 1979, Philip Glass met the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, whom he helped prepare for performances in Germany ; together they started to plan another opera, to be premiered at the Stuttgart State Opera.


Philip Glass continued to write for the orchestra with the score of Koyaanisqatsi.


Philip Glass decided to eliminate the violins, which had the effect of "giving the orchestra a low, dark sound that came to characterize the piece and suited the subject very well".


Philip Glass again collaborated with Robert Wilson on another opera, the CIVIL warS, which functioned as the final part of Wilson's epic work by the same name, originally planned for an "international arts festival that would accompany the Olympic Games in Los Angeles".


Philip Glass dedicated himself to vocal works with two sets of songs, Three Songs for chorus, and a song cycle initiated by CBS Masterworks Records: Songs from Liquid Days, with texts by songwriters such as David Byrne, Paul Simon, in which the Kronos Quartet is featured in a prominent role.


Philip Glass continued his series of operas with adaptations from literary texts such as The Juniper Tree, Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, and worked with novelist Doris Lessing on the opera The Making of the Representative for Planet 8.


Philip Glass returned to chamber music; he composed two String Quartets, and chamber works which originated as incidental music for plays, such as Music from "The Screens".


Philip Glass had already collaborated with Suso in the film score to Powaqqatsi.


Philip Glass remixed the S'Express song "Hey Music Lover", for the b-side of its 1989 release as a single.


Philip Glass referred to the music of Honegger, Milhaud, and Villa-Lobos as possible models for his symphony.


Besides writing for the concert hall, Philip Glass continued his ongoing operatic series with adaptions from literary texts: The Marriages of Zones 3,4 and 5, In the Penal Colony, and the chamber opera The Sound of a Voice, which features the Pipa, performed by Wu Man at its premiere.


Philip Glass collaborated again with the co-author of Einstein on the Beach, Robert Wilson, on Monsters of Grace, and created a biographic opera on the life of astronomer Galileo Galilei.


Philip Glass himself pointed out "in many ways it owes more to Schubert than to Bach".


In 2007, Philip Glass worked alongside Leonard Cohen on an adaptation of Cohen's poetry collection Book of Longing.


Philip Glass provided a "hypnotic" original score for a compilation of Beckett's short plays Act Without Words I, Act Without Words II, Rough for Theatre I and Eh Joe, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis and premiered in December 2007.


In 2009 and 2010, Philip Glass returned to the concerto genre.


Philip Glass donated a short work, Brazil, to the video game Chime, which was released on February 3,2010.


In January 2011, Philip Glass performed at the MONA FOMA festival in Hobart, Tasmania.


In collaboration with stage auteur, performer and co-director Phelim McDermott, he composed the score for the new work Tao of Philip Glass, which premiered at the 2019 Manchester International Festival before touring to the 2020 Perth Festival.


Philip Glass describes himself as a "classicist", pointing out he is trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied such composers as Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Nadia Boulanger.


Philip Glass has collaborated with recording artists such as Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, Mick Jagger, Leonard Cohen, David Byrne, Uakti, Natalie Merchant, S'Express and Aphex Twin.


Philip Glass had begun using the Farfisa portable organ out of convenience, and he has used it in concert.


In 1993 Philip Glass formed another record label, Point Music; in 1997, Point Music released Music for Airports, a live, instrumental version of Eno's composition of the same name, by Bang on a Can All-Stars.


Philip Glass has composed many film scores, starting with the orchestral score for Koyaanisqatsi, and continuing with two biopics, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Kundun about the Dalai Lama, for which he received his first Academy Award nomination.


The year after scoring Hamburger Hill, Philip Glass began a long collaboration with the filmmaker Errol Morris with his music for Morris's celebrated documentaries, including The Thin Blue Line and A Brief History of Time.


Philip Glass continued composing for the Qatsi trilogy with the scores for Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi.


The circular, recurring nature of Philip Glass' music has been praised for providing stability and contrast to frequent jumps across time and geography in the film's narrative.


In 2009, Philip Glass composed original theme music for Transcendent Man, about the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil by filmmaker Barry Ptolemy.


In 2013, Philip Glass contributed a piano piece "Duet" to the Park Chan-wook film Stoker which is performed diegetically in the film.


In 2017, Philip Glass scored the National Geographic Films documentary Jane.


Philip Glass's music was featured in two award-winning films by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, Elena and Leviathan.


For television, Philip Glass composed the theme for Night Stalker and the soundtrack for Tales from the Loop.


Philip Glass has described himself as "a Jewish-Taoist-Hindu-Toltec-Buddhist" and is a supporter of the Tibetan independence movement.


Philip Glass has been married four times; he has four children and one granddaughter.


Philip Glass was romantically involved with cellist Wendy Sutter for approximately five years.


Philip Glass is the first cousin once removed of Ira Philip Glass, host of the radio show This American Life.


Ira and Philip Glass recorded a version of the composition Philip Glass wrote to accompany his friend Allen Ginsberg's poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra".


In 2014, This American Life broadcast a live performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that included the world premier of the opera Help, a short monodrama that Philip Glass wrote for the occasion.


Philip Glass is no Vivaldi, a composer who even at his most wallpaper baroque still has something to say.