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Born: 1937, Baltimore
"I sometimes say that, for a composer, the first thing to do is to find your voice and the second is to get rid of it. Mostly I try to get rid of it."
One of the pioneering masters of American Minimalism, Glass began his music career fairly conventionally, including study at Juilliard and the publication of pieces for school ensembles. Further study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, where he also worked with Ravi Shankar on Shankar's score for the film Chappaqua provided the impetus for a decisive stylistic break, and in the mid-1960s he began composing in a pared-down idiom of simple harmony and rhythmic cycles. He has developed this into a readily recognizable personal style capable of expansive power and color. He has composed in many forms for many occasions, but is most identified with theatrical and ceremonial works, ranging from film scores to the opening and closing music for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles; the trilogy of character operas Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten established his international reputation.
Einstein on the Beach (opera, 1974-76)
Philip Glass Ensemble, others
Powaqqatsi (film score, 1988)
Philip Glass Ensemble