Philip Glass’s senior-year student ID, provided by the composer.

Last weekend, minimalism’s reluctant hero returned to his alma mater. My meager coverage for the Maroon doesn’t quite encapsulate the philosophical potency of Mr. Glass’s residency, though I feel fortunate to have attended all of the events and gotten the chance to speak to the composer himself.

The day after our conversation, I was listening to the Kronos Quartet’s recordings of Glass’s quartets when I realized just what it was about Glass’s music I found so compelling. It doesn’t assert itself, selfishly demanding your undivided attention. Rather, it embraces and enhances the world as it—like his music—slowly, inexorably moves around you.

So often artists present audiences with a canvas to survey. For me, Glass’s music is the lens through which we view that image. The image itself is one of our own creation.

One thought on “Homecoming

  1. Well – I’ve found myself annoyed by his music for many years; in fact back when I used to work as a studio model, I’d let the art professors do all kinds of crazy things, pose me in unsustainable ways, create unpleasant tensions (physical and psychological), but I drew the line at Philip Glass on the CD player. How about some nice Dvorak, I’d say. Or some Shostakovich if you just came from a faculty meeting. Copland if we must be modern. But I wasn’t going to have bees in my head for the rest of the day just because some art professor wanted to play that CD.

    I came around some last fall after going to a little talk with him at NSO — what a smart, humane guy, very gentle, but he doesn’t let himself get pushed around. So I figured he must know something. I regretted that I wouldn’t be in DC long enough to go to his revised Appomattox. I’ll hear it, at least, sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

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