Happy 80th Birthday Philip Glass


Photo: Steve Pyke

Philip Glass turned eighty years old today. A celebration was held at Carnegie Hall tonight, a concert by the Bruckner Symphony Linz, led longtime Glass collaborator conductor Dennis Russell Davies in the premiere of the composer’s Eleventh Symphony and Three Yoruba Songs (with vocalist Angélique Kidjo).


In Nashville tonight, I’m not hearing any live Glass alas, but I am enjoying a brand new recording by Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson. Philip Glass – Piano Works, his debut for Deutsche Grammophon, features interpretations of the Études and excerpts from Glassworks. The Siggi String Quartet joins the pianist on some of the music, reworked to incorporate strings. Both here and in the solo selections, Ólafsson brings to bear a supple sense of phrasing and wide-ranging gestural palette. His playing stands starkly at odds with the seemingly irrepressible notion that ostinatos serve as motoric cogs in a supposedly limited minimalist vocabulary. He finds 1,000 flavors of repetition. Anyone who wants an point of entry to or refresher course on Glass’s music need listen no further than here to find bold, dramatic interpretations of his work.

Published by christiancarey

Composer Christian Carey's music has been performed by ACME, Ashlee Mack, Aspen New Music Ensemble, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Cassatt String Quartet, Choir of Grace Church Newark, Ionisation New Music Ensemble, Jody Redhage, Joe Arndt, John McMurtery, Locrian Chamber Players, loadbang, Megan Ihnen, New York New Music Ensemble, Wendy Richman, and others.

One thought on “Happy 80th Birthday Philip Glass

  1. I’m sad to say that I quite recently heard Philip glass. Music has been as much a part of my life as breathing it seems, it’s rare that there is a silent moment in my house or car. Lately I’ve been reliving 80s memories by going to a local record store run by a really cool guy that knows what I like. I was listening to some records and could hear an album he was playing that caught my attention. It was the album glassworks, it was his personal copy but will be getting one of my own soon hopefully. I’m a fan of kraftwerk and such and somehow this fit right in there. Started listening to “music in 12 parts” and thoroughly enjoying it. Although I wish I would have listened to his stuff long ago I’m glad at least I had the chance to discover his work. It’s brilliant, some is so completely calming I can feel a soothing effect while others are totally engaging and seem to help me focus. Music is such a wonderful thing that evokes so much emotion and can be healing as well.

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