Didn’t Philip Glass compose the operas Akhnaten and Einstein on the Beach? Yes, he did. But now that he is 80, he is not resting on his considerable accomplishments. He is enjoying a year of nearly frenetic activity that would knock the tar our of most people half his age. He holds the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall this season. In May he will present his works at a Philip Glass festival in Mexico City. In July he will be at the piano to perform a selection of his chamber works, with cellist Matt Haimovitz and other players, at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. And that is not his complete schedule.
Philip Glass, former firebrand and pioneer of minimalism, is suddenly the elder statesman of American composers. How much of his music have you been listening to lately? We admit that we have not been as up-to-date in our listening as we should have been. We have only recently discovered his Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8, both works that must be considered among the most important symphonic compositions by any American composer. Also, we have recently discovered a recording of his string quartets performed by the Brooklyn Rider string quartet. Why not get listening to it right now on Classical Archives?
So . . . let us now praise famous men. Or let us at least praise a famous man named Philip Glass. And while we are praising, we should listen.
And be sure to watch this scene from his opera Aknaten.