Philip Glass

Born Jan 31, 1937

Philip Morris Glass is an American composer. He is often said to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. His music is also often controversially described as minimalist, along with the work of the other "major minimalists" La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich. He has distanced himself from the "minimalist" label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures.… Read More

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Browse recent news and stories about Philip Glass.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Philip Glass.


1937 Birth Glass was born on January 31, 1937, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Ida (née Gouline) and Benjamin Charles Glass. … Read More


1954 17 Years Old In 1954 Glass went to Paris for the first time, encountering the films of Jean Cocteau, which made a lasting impression on him. … Read More


1959 - 1962 2 More Events
1964 27 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1964, Glass received a Fulbright Scholarship and went to Paris, where he studied with the eminent composition teacher Nadia Boulanger from autumn of 1964 to summer of 1966. … Read More
1965 28 Years Old 1 More Event
These significant encounters resulted in a collaboration with Breuer for which Glass contributed music for a 1965 staging of Samuel Beckett's Comédie (Play, 1963). … Read More
1966 29 Years Old Glass then left Paris for northern India in 1966, where he came in contact with Tibetan refugees and began to gravitate towards Buddhism. … Read More


1967 30 Years Old 1 More Event
Shortly after arriving in New York City in March 1967, Glass attended a performance of works by Steve Reich (including the ground-breaking minimalist piece Piano Phase), which left a deep impression on him; he simplified his style and turned to a radical "consonant vocabulary". … Read More
1968 - 1970 3 More Events
1971 34 Years Old After differences of opinion with Steve Reich in 1971, Glass formed the Philip Glass Ensemble (while Reich formed Steve Reich and Musicians), an amplified ensemble including keyboards, wind instruments (saxophones, flutes), and soprano voices. … Read More
1975 38 Years Old …  Composed in spring to fall of 1975 in close collaboration with Wilson, Glass's first opera was first premiered in summer 1976 at the Festival d'Avignon, and in November of the same year to a mixed and partly enthusiastic reaction from the audience at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. … Read More


1978 41 Years Old In Spring 1978, Glass received a commission from the Netherlands Opera (as well as a Rockefeller Foundation grant) which "marked the end of his need to earn money from non-musical employment." … Read More
1979 42 Years Old Shortly after completing the score in August 1979, Glass met the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, whom he helped prepare for performances in Germany (using a piano-four-hands version of the score); together they started to plan another opera, to be premiered at the Stuttgart State Opera. … Read More


1992 55 Years Old …  As Glass remarked in 1992, Akhnaten is significant in his work since it represents a "first extension out of a triadic harmonic language", an experiment with the polytonality of his teachers Persichetti and Milhaud, a musical technique which Glass compares to "an optical illusion, such as in the paintings of Josef Albers". … Read More


1998 - 2005 2 More Events
In 2007, Glass also worked alongside Leonard Cohen on an adaptation of Cohen's poetry collection Book of Longing. … Read More
2008 71 Years Old 1 More Event
2008 to 2010 Glass continued to work on a series of chamber music pieces which started with Songs and Poems: the Four Movements for Two Pianos (2008, premiered by Dennis Davies and Maki Namekawa in July 2008), a Sonata for Violin and Piano composed in "the Brahms tradition" (completed in 2008, premiered by violinist Maria Bachman and pianist Jon Klibonoff in February 2009); a String sextet (an adaption of the Symphony No. 3 of 1995 made by Glass's musical director Michael Riesman) followed in 2009. … Read More
2009 72 Years Old 1 More Event
It is Glass's first opera in German, and was premiered by the Bruckner Orchester Linz and Dennis Russell Davies in September 2009. … Read More
2010 73 Years Old Glass also donated a short work, Brazil, to the video game Chime, which was released on February 3, 2010.
2011 74 Years Old 1 More Event
In January 2011, Glass performed at the MONA FOMA festival in Hobart, Tasmania. … Read More
His opera, based on a play by Austrian playwright and novelist Peter Handke, Die Spuren der Verirrten (2007), premiered at the in April 2013, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies and directed by David Pountney.
2015 78 Years Old 1 More Event
In May 2015, Glass's Double Concerto for Two Pianos was premiered by Katia and Marielle Labèque, Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
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