April 8, 2015 |
Philip Glass has been such a constant compositional presence over the last 40 years that only with the arrival of his memoir, Words Without Music (W.W. Norton & Co. $29.95), do you realize how long overdue it is. The book chronicles his Baltimore upbringing, education in Paris, and travels in Europe and India. But it rightly touches on only the major works of his early and middle periods, gracefully leaving the reader to conclude how much the 78-year-old Glassv - who will appear at the Free Library on Tuesday evening - has changed the cutting-edge music world, how that world is run, how pieces are made and disseminated, and the value of his having saved serious music from the hegemony of modernism.
February 17, 2014 |
Godfrey Reggio wants us all to take a breath, to be still. In Visitors , which had its world premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, the experimental filmmaker serves up slow-motion black-and-white close-ups of people, and meditative pans of buildings and landscapes. The ambitious project moves to a rhythm that we have become entirely unaccustomed to. "I wanted something extremely slow," says Reggio, whose first film, 1982's Koyaanisqatsi , presented a pixilated, time-lapse record of a world out of balance, overpopulated, undernourished, despoiling itself - all to a pulsing Philip Glass score.
April 26, 2013 |
Icarus without feathers - and with a semi-happy ending - can still be Icarus. In a new version created jointly by physicist/author Brian Greene, playwright David Henry Hwang, and composer Philip Glass, the paragon of youthful hubris lives in an age well beyond the wax wings of antiquity, piloting a spacecraft that veers too close to a black hole. You might think you know the rest, but Icarus at the Edge of Time , which enveloped Verizon Hall on Wednesday with a huge video screen, narrator, and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, has a smarter message: Respect the unknown.
April 21, 2013
Sunday Royal performances The pastiche ballet La Fille Mal Gardée made its debut in 1789, two weeks before the fall of the Bastille. The comic work has been revived in many forms since, but it's Frederick Ashton's 1960 adaptation that has taken first place for the last half-century. A film of the Royal Ballet's recent production screens at 12:30 p.m. at the County Theater , 20 E. State St., Doylestown. Tickets are $18. Call 215-348-3456. . . . Tchaikovsky's best opera, Eugene Onegin , is a sublime adaptation of Pushkin's tale of a selfish and destructive nobleman.
April 21, 2013 |
If there's one thing Ira Glass knows, it's that you can't put a dance performance on the radio. The public radio journalist, who hosts NPR's popular weekly newsmagazine This American Life , was hit with that truth - and the resulting conundrum - two years ago when he fell in love with a performance by New York choreographer Monica Bill Barnes' modern dance ensemble. "I was struck by how the aesthetics of her show matched the tone and feeling of the radio show I do," Glass, 54, said this week in a phone interview.
April 19, 2013 |
I RA GLASS is the Jessica Simpson of public radio. Not the new, pregnant designer Jessica Simpson. The old, singing, can't dance a lick Jessica Simpson. That Jessica used to surround herself with dancers to hide her own immobility. And that brings us to Glass. The "This American Life" host will present the world premiere of "One Radio Show, Two Dancers," a night of stories and dance, courtesy of Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass , Saturday and Sunday at the Annenberg Center.
March 14, 2013 |
Curtis Chamber Orchestra is hitting the road with its customary vigor and intelligence, though its program - performed Monday at the Kimmel Center, subsequently in Washington and New York - was a this-and-that calling card perhaps aimed more at establishing the Curtis Institute identity than at making a cohesive artistic statement. The exterior conceit in this concert, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, was a musical meeting ground between two starry Curtis graduates from different generations, violinists Jennifer Koh (2002)
March 8, 2010 |
A change of venue, some unlikely collaborators, and a forward-looking program conspired to give the Philadelphia Singers a near-full house at the 970-seat Zellerbach Theatre for Saturday's "Glass, Reich, Bryars" concert. Artistically, it was nearly all it promised to be. The program's supposed big deal - the first live performance of the already-recorded 1994 Persephone by Philip Glass - was pleasant enough, though Steve Reich's You Are (Variations) was the primary triumph for the combined Philadelphia Singers, Relache ensemble, and Orchestra 2001.
April 16, 2008 |
Success was all but decreed for Chinese composer Tan Dun and his Piano Concerto, premiered over the weekend by Lang Lang and the New York Philharmonic. Philip Glass returned to the grand opera stage with a new production of Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera, and the young, pierced-and-tattooed audience - plus a flock of Tibetan monks - were all set to adore the opera, seemingly no matter what happened. Both events had more in common than their prestigious circumstances. These composers seem oddly immune to failure.
May 9, 2005 |
New music has long gravitated toward the portrayal of dream states. When it is less tethered to any particular key center, music more easily becomes less graphic and more otherworldly. It's a tendency composer Sebastian Currier explores to maximum effect in Nightmaze, a multimedia piece about a highway road trip that goes places Thelma and Louise never imagined. Premiered by Network for New Music Friday at Temple University's Rock Hall, Nightmaze is based on a scenario by novelist Thomas Bolt.