Tomorrow afternoon, CCM welcomes composer Philip Glass and cellist Matt Haimovitz for a special talk presented by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Led by CSO assistant conductor William White, the panel will delve into the topics of personal stye and inspiration and how one goes about preparing to perform a brand new concerto by this giant of American music.
“A Conversation with Philip Glass and Matt Haimovitz” takes place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 at CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall. Space is limited and reservations are required. Contact the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Box Office at 513-381-3300 to reserve.
Tomorrow evening, CCM alumni (and recent Grammy winners) eighth blackbird will be joined by Glass to perform “Music in Similar Motion” and premiere a new work by composer Nico Muhly as part of the 2012 MusicNow Festival at Hamilton County’s Memorial Hall.
Then, this Friday and Saturday evening, on the occasion of his 75th birthday year, the CSO celebrates Glass with the world premiere of his Second Cello Concerto, based on the score to the prophetic art film Naqoyqatsi, a Hopi word meaning “life as war.”
Returning to the CSO stage to perform this work is cellist Matt Haimovitz, a free-spirited musical pioneer who “makes almost everything sound fresh” according to NPR. The concert will close with Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, with its massive climaxes, beautiful harmonies and powerful rhythms.
Tickets to the March 30 and 31 performances are $12 and are on sale now. The CSO Box Office will also be set up in the atrium of Robert J. Werner Recital Hall tomorrow afternoon.
About Philip Glass
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
The operas – Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten and The Voyage, among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, while Koyaanisqatsi, his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since Fantasia. His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music – simultaneously.
He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.
The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.
There has been nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.