Glass, Philip

Glass, Philip

Glass, Philip, 1937-, American composer, b. Baltimore. Considered one of the most innovative of contemporary composers, he was a significant figure in the development of minimalism in music. Glass attended the Juilliard School of Music (M.A., 1962) and studied (1964-66) with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. There he also met Indian musicians Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha, whose music was to influence his own compositions strongly. In 1968 he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble, a small group that employs electronically amplified instruments. During the 1970s he became known for music that blended standard notation and tonality with electronics. These lengthy and highly rhythmic compositions employ a number of phrases that are repeated and slowly modified during the music's course. The purest form of this style is represented in the four-hour-long Music in 12 Parts (1971-74).

More traditional harmonies entered his work with the opera Einstein on the Beach (1976), which Glass wrote with Robert Wilson; a work introduced the minimalist style to a mass audience and paved the way for a wider acceptance of contemporary opera. The meditative Einstein is without narrative plot and blends light, image, and sound as well as dance, words, and music into a hypnotic whole. During the ensuing years Glass's work has become more complex and varied. His best-known works are his operas; Satyagraha (1980), Akhnaten (1984), The Fall of the House of Usher (1988), Hydrogen Jukebox (1990, a collaboration with Allen Ginsberg), The Voyage (1992), and La Belle et la Běte (1994, composed for Jean Cocteau's film) followed Einstein. Three had their American debuts in 2001—The Marriages between Zones 3, 4 and 5 (1997); the epic White Raven (1998), another collaboration with Robert Wilson; and the smaller-scale In the Penal Colony (2001), based on the Franz Kafka short story. Later operas are Galileo Galilei (2002); Waiting for the Barbarians (2005), based on a novel by J. M. Coetzee; and Appomattox (2007), which dramatizes the American Civil War's last weeks and its aftermath. Glass's other compositions include symphonies, concertos, string quartets, songs, and film scores. Glass's work has been extremely influential in the development of a new generation of composers.

See his Music by Philip Glass (1987); R. Kostelanetz, ed., Writings on Glass (1997); Philip Glass: Looking Glass (documentary, 2005).

(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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Philip is a personal name, derived from the Greek Philippos (Φίλιππος), meaning "lover of horses" or "friend of horses". The name was given by the Macedonian kings, who established a cavalry and so became friends of horses. Philip (and alternative spellings Phillip,Philippe, Philipp, Felip, Felipe, Filip, Filipe) and its diminutive Phil may refer to:


Kings of Macedon

Other Philips of antiquity

Kings of France

Counts and Dukes of Savoy

Dukes of Burgundy

Kings of Castile & Spain

Kings of Portugal

Kings of Navarre

Other rulers and royalty

Other famous Philips

Used as a surname

  • Arthur Phillip (1738–1814), Australian politician, and governor of New South Wales
  • Emanuel L. Philipp (1861-1925), American politician and governor of the US state, Wisconsin
  • Mary Phillip (1977-), English football player

Fictional characters

Monuments and buildings


See also

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