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Philip Glass

Composer

Biography

American composer Philip Glass is one of the world's most popular living composers. He has written prolifically for the stage, his vast catalogue of 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 the 2014/15 Season MTW gives the world premiere of Glass's chamber opera The Trial in the Linbury.

Glass grew up in Baltimore and studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, in Aspen with Darius Milhaud and in Europe with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar. In 1967 he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble in New York. He has since become one of the most prominent figures in contemporary music, renowned for developing a style of music based on immersive, repetitive structures. He presents lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances around the world, continues to appear frequently with the Philip Glass Ensemble and has created collaborations with such figures as David Bowie, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, Doris Lessing and Twyla Tharp.

Glass's many large-scale operas include Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach; he has created many soundtracks for film, including the influential Koyaanisqatsi and the award-winning The Hours; and additionally his works are popular in the concert hall and in theatre, dance and popular music.

Videos

News and features

5 things you need to know about Philip Glass's opera The Trial

5 things you need to know about Philip Glass's opera The Trial

30 September 2014

Our quick guide to this world premiere, based on Franz Kafka's novel.

Introducing Philip Glass: A divisive but hugely influential figure in contemporary music

Introducing Philip Glass: A divisive but hugely influential figure in contemporary music

29 September 2014

Glass’s music – love it or hate it – has had a profound effect on wider pop culture.

Michael McCarthy on Philip Glass’s The Trial: ‘an intensely musical experience’

Michael McCarthy on Philip Glass’s The Trial: ‘an intensely musical experience’

11 July 2014

Director Michael McCarthy and librettist Christopher Hampton discuss Glass’s new pocket opera.

Jerome Robbins: A master of both ballet and musical choreography

Jerome Robbins: A master of both ballet and musical choreography

16 May 2014

Balanchine's rival for the title of America's greatest 20th-century choreographer created ballets as well as the musicals West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.

Operatic Pacifism

Operatic Pacifism

30 January 2014

In preparation for English Touring Opera's production of King Priam, we look at how pacifist ideals have influenced opera in the last century.

John Cage: Still a controversial figure 100 years on from his birth

John Cage: Still a controversial figure 100 years on from his birth

5 September 2012

We look at one of the 20th century's most polarizing composers.

Photos