On January 31st noted composer Philip Glass celebrated his 85th birthday. Referring to himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures” rather than a minimalist composer (a distinction that sounds moot perhaps but his style is quite different from minimalist composers like Adams, Reich or Nyman, so I’ll let the man have that) Glass has been one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. As of now (he keeps writing, having just finished his 14th symphony) Glass has written “fifteen operas, numerous chamber operas and musical theatre works, fourteen symphonies, twelve concertos, eight string quartets and various other chamber music, and several film scores”. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards, though sadly he hasn’t won any. As of yet.
Glass also founded the Philip Glass Ensemble in order to perform his work in 1968, and still performs to this day. Most of his well known works (Einstein on the Beach, Music in 12 Parts, the Qatsi trilogy) were performed by said Ensemble, of which Glass is still a member. They still tour to this day as well. One of my best experiences ever was seeing Godfrey Reggio’s experimental documentary with Glass’s score being played live by Glass and his Ensemble. Here’s a part of that documentary, though the entire movie is worth checking out:
A happy belated birthday to Mr. Glass! And happy posting to you.