Artistic Icons Series

Philip Glass (composer, piano)

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. Upon his return to New York, he applied these Eastern techniques to his own music. By 1974, Glass had a number of significant and innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for his performing group, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company, which he co-founded. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts, followed by the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach, created with Robert Wilson in 1976, which will be revived in 2012.

Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His score for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun received an Academy Award nomination while his score for Peter Weir’s The Truman Show won him a Golden Globe. His film score for Stephen Daldry’s The Hours received Golden Globe, Grammy, and Academy Award nominations, along with winning a BAFTA in Film Music from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Original scores for the critically acclaimed films The Illusionist and Notes on a Scandal were released last year. Glass has received an Oscar nomination for his Notes score.

In 2004 Glass premiered the new work Orion—a collaboration between Glass and six other international artists opening in Athens as part of the cultural celebration of the 2004 Olympics in Greece, and his Piano Concerto No. 2 (After Lewis and Clark) with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra. Glass’ latest symphonies, Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8, premiered in 2005 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Bruckner Orchester Linz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, respectively. 2005 also saw the premiere of Waiting for the Barbarians, an opera based on the book by J.M. Coetzee. Glass’ orchestral tribute to Indian spiritual leader Sri Ramakrishna, The Passion of Ramakrishna, premiered in 2006 at Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Glass maintained a dense creative schedule throughout 2007 and 2008, unveiling several highly anticipated works, including Book of Longing and an opera about the end of the Civil War titled Appomattox. In April 2007, the English National Opera, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera, remounted Glass’ Satyagraha, which appeared in New York in April 2008. Recent film projects include a score to Woody Allen’s film, Cassandra’s Dream, and a documentary on Ray Kurzweil, Transcendent Man, which premiered in April 2009.

Glass’ recent opera, based on the life and work of Johannes Kepler and commissioned by Linz 2009, Cultural Capital of Europe, and Landestheater Linz, premiered in September 2009 in Linz, Austria and in November 2009 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Symphony #9 was completed in 2011 and premiered in Linz, Austria in January 2012 by the Bruckner Orchestra, with a U.S. premiere in New York at Carnegie Hall on January 31, 2012 as part of the composer’s 75th birthday celebration.  Symphony #10 received its European premiere in France in the summer of 2012.


An Evening of Chamber Music Featuring Philip Glass and Tim Fain
Part of FirstWorks Artistic Icons Series
The Vets – Feb. 25, 2015 – 7:30 PM
Post-show Artist-Up-Close moderated by Paul Phillips, conductor of Brown University Orchestra


A Creative Conversation on collaboration and multidisciplinary inspiration delving into the experience of a man who has teamed up with influential artists across a spectrum of genres. Moderated by Daniel Cavicchi, RISD professor and Dean of Liberal Arts
RISD Auditorium – Feb. 26, 2015 – 4:30 PM


Talk for high-school students at JMW School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Pawtucket, RI – Feb. 26, 2015

Philip Glass photo by Raymond Meier


FirstWorks Artistic Icons Series
Feb. 25, 2015 at The Vets


Feb. 25, 2015