Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach, for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Glass’s memoir Words Without Music was published by Liveright Books in 2015.
Glass received the Praemium Imperiale in 2012, the U.S. National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama in 2016, and 41st Kennedy Center Honors in 2018. Glass’s recent works include Symphony No. 12, a completion of three symphonies based on David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, Glass’s first Piano Sonata, and a new opera Circus Days and Nights to premiere in May 2021.