Todd L. Burns hosts Philip Glass at a Red Bull Music Lecture in 2013. 1.5hours
It’s hard to overstate the influence of New York City composer Philip Glass. Along with Steve Reich, his minimalist compositions transformed the world of classical music and, eventually, popular music in general. Glass’ early epiphanies occurred in Paris during his time in the mid-’60s studying under Nadia Boulanger and in New York when he heard Steve Reich’s “Piano Phase.” These events helped set Glass on a course toward the repetitive, dramatic, and conceptually rigorous style that has become his trademark. Throughout the ’70s Glass refined his work, resulting in career-defining compositions like Music In Twelve Parts and Einstein On The Beach. In the process he became a popular sensation, a serious composer who wasn’t willfully obscure or too difficult to understand. Glass’ stunning soundtrack work for films like The Thin Blue Line and The Hours, and a symphony based on David Bowie’s album Heroes, has only elevated his standing as one of America’s most popular living composers. In this talk at the 2013 RBMA, Glass waxes nostalgic on his time spent in Paris, musical tradition, and the art of performance.