Glass, Philip

Glass, Philip

biographical name

(born Jan. 31, 1937, Baltimore, Md., U.S.) U.S. composer. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of Chicago and then studied composition at the Juilliard School and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His later studies with the Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar in 1966 and the tabla player Alla Rakha produced a radical shift in his compositional style. He became the leading exponent of musical “minimalism,” employing insistently repeated notes and chords, subtly shifting timbres, and blocklike harmonic progressions without contrapuntal voice leading. He achieved fame suddenly with the opera Einstein on the Beach (1975) and went on to write more than 20 operas, including Satyagraha (1980), Akhnaten (1984), and The Voyage (1992). His other works include many film scores, such as Koyaanisqatsi (1983) and The Thin Blue Line (1988), and the recordings Glassworks (1981) and Songs from Liquid Days (1986). He collaborated with a wide range of writers, artists, and musicians, including Robert Wilson, Allen Ginsberg, Doris Lessing, David Bowie, and Paul Simon. Glass's work appealed to fans of rock and popular music, and at the turn of the 21st century he was perhaps the world's most famous living composer.

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