Glass Philip Glass Philip Glass for Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Synopsis

The American composer Philip Glass was born in Baltimore on this date in 1937.

Glass says he discovered music via his father's radio repair shop, where, in addition to servicing radios, Papa Glass sold records. When certain titles sold poorly, Papa would take them home and play them for his three children, trying to discover why they didn't appeal to customers. And so the future composer rapidly became familiar with commercially unsuccessful records of Beethoven string quartets, Schubert piano sonatas, and Shostakovich symphonies.

After some decades studying music, both commercially successful and not, Glass struck out on an original path. In the 1970s, he made a name for himself as both a composer and a performer of hypnotically and repetitiously patterned music for dance and theatrical events in association with Mabou Mines and avant-garde theatrical director Robert Wilson. In 1976 the Philip Glass-Robert Wilson opera Einstein on the Beach premiered in France and was subsequently staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

In the decades that followed, Glass has composed many more operas, symphonies, and film scores, and has the dubious distinction of generating of “Philip Glass jokes,” the most famous being:

Knock-knock.

Who's there?

Philip Glass.

Knock-knock.

Who's there?

Philip Glass

Knock-knock.

Who's there?

Philip Glass

Music Played in Today's Program

Philip Glass (b. 1937) Symphony No. 3 Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies, conductor. Nonesuch 79581