Philip Glass
Composer

Biography
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

The operas – Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten and The Voyage among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun while Koyaanisqatsi, his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since Fantasia His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music -- simultaneously.

He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.

The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops. There has been nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

OPERA America/Opera.ca Grants Awarded
Click here to learn more about OPERA America granting programs.
GRANT NAMEYEAR
The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2015
The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2012
The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2012
The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2012
The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase 2011
The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase 2009
The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2007
The Next Stage1999
The Next Stage1999
The Next Stage1998
Opera for a New America 1993
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1989
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1989
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1989
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1989
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1987
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1987
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1987
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1987
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1986
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1986
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1986
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1986
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1986
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1985
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1985
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1984
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1984


Productions
Click company name to view productions details.
COMPANYTITLEDATES
Long Beach OperaLes Enfants terribles3/20/2021 - 3/28/2021
Boston Lyric OperaThe Fall of the House of Usher11/18/2020 - 11/22/2020
Metropolitan OperaAkhnaten11/8/2019 - 12/7/2019
Portland OperaIn the Penal Colony7/26/2019 - 8/10/2019
Long Beach OperaIn the Penal Colony4/25/2019 - 5/5/2019
Opera OmahaLes Enfants terribles4/3/2019 - 4/14/2019
Los Angeles OperaSatyagraha10/20/2018 - 11/11/2018
Opera Parallèle (Opera Parallele)In the Penal Colony10/5/2018 - 10/7/2018
Los Angeles OperaLa Belle et la bete10/28/2017 - 10/31/2017
Wolf Trap Opera CompanyThe Juniper Tree8/11/2017 - 8/19/2017
Chautauqua OperaHydrogen Jukebox7/27/2017 - 8/1/2017
Opera Theatre of Saint LouisThe Trial6/17/2017 - 6/23/2017
Opera Parallèle (Opera Parallele)Les Enfants terribles5/26/2017 - 5/28/2017
Chicago Opera TheaterThe Perfect American4/22/2017 - 4/30/2017
Tri-Cities OperaHydrogen Jukebox4/21/2017 - 4/30/2017
Long Beach OperaThe Perfect American3/12/2017 - 3/18/2017
Los Angeles OperaAkhnaten11/5/2016 - 11/27/2016
Des Moines Metro OperaGalileo Galilei7/7/2016 - 7/10/2016
Opera SaratogaThe Witches of Venice7/2/2016 - 7/17/2016
Washington National OperaAppomattox11/14/2015 - 11/22/2015
Nashville OperaHydrogen Jukebox11/13/2015 - 11/15/2015
Boston Lyric OperaIn the Penal Colony11/11/2015 - 11/15/2015
Long Beach OperaHydrogen Jukebox5/30/2015 - 6/7/2015
West Edge OperaHydrogen Jukebox7/7/2014 - 8/8/2014
Pittsburgh OperaOrphée4/4/2014 - 5/5/2014
Los Angeles OperaEinstein on the Beach10/10/2013 - 10/12/2013
Cincinnati OperaGalileo Galilei7/11/2013 - 7/21/2013
Indianapolis OperaAkhnaten3/8/2013 - 3/8/2013
Chicago Opera TheaterThe Fall of the House of Usher2/2/2013 - 3/3/2013
Long Beach OperaThe Fall of the House of Usher1/1/2013 - 2/3/2013
North Carolina OperaLes Enfants terribles1/1/2012 - 1/22/2012
Virginia OperaOrphee1/1/2012 - 2/19/2012
Metropolitan OperaSatyagraha11/11/2011 - 12/12/2011
Fort Worth OperaHydrogen Jukebox5/5/2011 - 6/6/2011
Long Beach OperaAkhnaten3/3/2011 - 3/27/2011
Opera Parallèle (Opera Parallele)Orphee2/13/2011 - 2/13/2011
Nashville OperaThe Fall of the House of Usher11/11/2009 - 11/14/2009
Portland OperaOrphée11/8/2009 - 11/13/2009
Atlanta OperaAkhnaten1/1/2009 - 1/25/2009
Metropolitan OperaSatyagraha4/4/2008 - 5/5/2008
San Francisco OperaAppomattox10/9/2007 - 10/19/2007
Glimmerglass FestivalOrphée7/7/2007 - 8/27/2007
Pittsburgh Festival OperaThe Sound of A Voice4/4/2007 - 4/28/2007
Austin OperaWaiting for the Barbarians1/1/2007 - 1/29/2007
Long Beach OperaHotel of Dreams11/11/2006 - 11/18/2006
Long Beach OperaThe Sound of A Voice11/11/2006 - 11/18/2006
Chicago Opera TheaterAkhnaten7/7/2000 - 7/30/2000
Boston Lyric OperaAkhnaten1/1/2000 - 2/6/2000
Metropolitan OperaThe Voyage3/3/1996 - 4/11/1996
Eugene OperaLa Belle et la bête10/30/1995 - 10/30/1995
Metropolitan OperaThe Voyage10/1/1992 - 10/30/1992


Artist Information

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