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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 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 2014 MTW gave the world premiere of Glass’s chamber opera The Trial in the Linbury and in 2017 Javier De Frutos created a new production of Glass’s dance-opera Les Enfants Terribles for The Royal Ballet in the Barbican Theatre.

Glass was born in Baltimore and studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, and with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar. In 1967 he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble in New York. By 1974 had created a large collection of new music for the Philip Glass Ensemble and Mabou Mines Theater Company, culminating in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach. He went on to expand his repertory to include music for opera, dance, theatre, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His film scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Further works include the operas Appomattox and The Perfect American (a co-commission between Teatro Real, Madrid, and English National Opera), the song cycle Ifé for Angelique Kidjo, the Double Piano Concerto for Katia and Marielle Labèque and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and his memoir Words Without Music (Liveright Publishing).

Glass presents lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances around the world and has created collaborations with such figures as David Bowie, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, Doris Lessing and Twyla Tharp.

Videos

News and features

Minimalism to the max: Why choreographers love minimalist music

Minimalism to the max: Why choreographers love minimalist music

7 February 2017

The disparate music grouped together as ‘minimalism’ has inspired numerous dance works, and is more diverse than might initially be imagined.

Watch: Philip Glass reflects on his early life as a struggling musician

Watch: Philip Glass reflects on his early life as a struggling musician

29 January 2017

Now one of the world's most celebrated artists, the composer made ends meet with stints as a taxi driver and removal man.

'Theatre has an obligation to explore sexuality': Javier De Frutos on <em>Les Enfants Terribles</em>

'Theatre has an obligation to explore sexuality': Javier De Frutos on Les Enfants Terribles

27 January 2017

The choreographer and director talks Cocteau, Glass and the power of great art in his dance-theatre production.

Photos