Philp Glass (USA)

Four Movements for Two Pianos, Alfonso Alberti, Emanuela Piemonti


Born in Baltimore on 31 January 1937. An author of contemporary music, he is usually considered among the leaders of musical minimalism with Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Terry Riley and John Adams. Having exhausted the period of maximum minimalist production, contrary to the aforementioned authors, apart from perhaps Adams, he gradually emancipated himself, choosing a style that is more user-friendly, postminimalist, less rigorous, and often turned towards the American symphonic tradition. Since the 1980s, he has preferred to distance himself from the term, maintaining an iterative form in his style, but expanding the expressive possibilities offered by tonality to the utmost, and increasingly embracing suggestions from non-European musical cultures, an interest that he had already manifested at the beginning of his career by collaborating with the Indian musician and composer Ravi Shankar. His works include numerous musical compositions of various kinds, with a certain predilection for stage forms (theatre, dance, performance) and the soundtracks for various films and documentaries. Famous in the latter category is the series of films made by Godfrey Reggio between 1983 and 2003 and based on prophecies of the Hopi Indians, known as the ‘Qatsi Trilogy’: Glass himself has also toured Italy with live concerts in which his ensemble performs the music directly on the film images (first full performance: Turin, Settembre Musica, Auditorium ‘Giovanni Agnelli’, Lingotto, September 2005). He has collaborated with various artists from the ambient (including Brian Eno) and pop-rock scene (including David Bowie, whose themes from ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’ he adopted to compose the eponymous symphonies). Philip Glass was also ranked number 9 in the Top 100 living geniuses compiled by the British magazine The Telegraph in 2007.