Philip Glass @ 80: A 24-Hour Birthday Celebration

Monday, January 30, 2017

Philip Glass receiving a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama Philip Glass receiving a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama (Sacks & Co.)

On Tuesday, Jan. 31 with an encore presentation Sunday, Feb. 5, Q2 Music celebrates the 80th birthday of Philip Glass with a 24-hour marathon of the legendary composer's music. The program is hosted by Phil Kline, who writes the following:

What can you say about Philip Glass? That he was the first or second minimalist you ever heard or heard of? That he’s one of the pillars of the '70s downtown scene? That he’s written 11 symphonies, scads of operas and film scores, that he’s one of the first composers to found his own ensemble, to start his own record label (three of them, in fact,) that he writes every day, seeming as unstoppable as the flow of the Amazon, probably has laid down more double bars than any composer since Telemann, has befriended, collaborated with, and/or helped more musicians and artists than anyone, that he gave birth to a sound that was once called (both with affection and derision) “deedle-deedle music?”

Or that he has given me great joy?

That when I was young, shy and newly-arrived in New York, I heard his ensemble practicing in a loft on Reade Street and, listening from the street below, knew I had come to the right place?

That when I did a show at my college radio station, he came up for an interview and was as nice and co-operative as could be? Or that in his adult life he has always lived in New York, is still right there, can be seen on the street, has always been a part of the community, musical and otherwise?

And that, like a few great ones, it’s almost impossible to imagine New York cultural life without him?

On Tuesday, January 31, his eightieth birthday, Q2 Music will celebrate by playing his music all day and all night, from midnight to noon, and noon to midnight. There will be string quartets, symphonies, selections from operas and films, and a mighty handful of iconic early works whose titles begin with the word “music.”

Watch Terrance McKnight interview Philip Glass live in the Greene Space at WQXR:


Watch a performance of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play 4 live in the Greene Space at WQXR:


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Comments [2]

Adele Fisher from Nassau County, Long Island

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite composers (and with whom I share this birthdate).

Jan. 31 2017 02:27 PM

Happy Birthday Phillip Glass! I have been a fan ever since the early days and love this marathon.

I have had the privilege of attending about three or four Glass concerts in my life including a live orchestra and movie screening of Powaqqatsi on NYC in the 80’s. In DC I saw the knock out “The Making of the Representative for Planet 8” is a full-scale multi media opera by Philip Glass with a libretto by Doris Lessing based on her novel of the same name, first performed in 1988. It took me a week to recover from this massive sound and video barrage.

And yet my Phillip story is not over. I recently saw the famous composer at the opening of the Washington National Gallery of Art East Building in which he spoke in a Q and A and played some piano. When I entered the museum, the line was around the corner. The auditorium was packed. I was in the last row. After the event was over I moseyed around the museum for about an hour or so and then came out of the entrance and there sat Phillip Glass. He was on the phone. I sat 6 feet away from him. I wanted to meet him; but somebody else came up. When I was about to make my move Mr. Glass' taxicab arrived and I saw him whisked away. A poetic moment - a coincidence fulfilled.

Jan. 31 2017 02:09 PM

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Q2 Music is WQXR’s multiplatform home for musical discovery and dynamic new classical music from trailblazing composers, ensembles and leading New York new-music venues. Q2 Music's 24/7 stream lives online at and is accessible via the free WQXR app.


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