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Philip Glass Gets Schooled

It’s a great time to be a Philip Glass fan—last year was the composer’s 75th birthday, and special performances were held worldwide. The Philip Glass ensemble performed Glass’s score for the 1931 silent film Dracula under the stars and redwoods at Big Sur’s Henry Miller Memorial Library. And Glass’s five-hour opera Einstein on the Beach was performed for the first time in 20 years. Glass calls the trilogy of Einstein, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten “Contemporary works about three people—Einstein, Gandhi, and Akhnaten—who made social change by using words and ideas instead of weapons.”Glass also established the biennial Days and Nights Music Festival in Carmel, California. Before his performance there with African kora master Foday Musa Suso, I spoke with Glass about creativity and his latest works.“I wasn’t particularly gifted musically,” he says. “My whole experience in music has been a sense of learning. In music school with Nadia Boulanger, there were other people much more gifted; I was very well trained, and with that the barriers dropped away.”Glass speaks about last year’s release of The …

John Malkin

John Malkin is a musician, journalist, activist, and father who lives in Santa Cruz, California. His writing has been published in many magazines, including The Sun, ascent, Shambhala Sun, Sojourners, Namarupa, adbusters, Punk Planet and Ode. He’s published two books: Sounds of Freedom: Musicians on Social Change & Spirituality (Parallax Press, 2005) and The Only Alternative: Christian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America (Wipf & Stock, 2007). He’s currently completing a book about punk rock, spirituality, and anarchism.

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Philip GlassComposerPerformancesMusic

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