Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. Glass’s work has been associated with minimalism, being built up from repetitive phrases and shifting layers. Glass describes himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures”, which he has helped evolve stylistically.
Glass founded the Philip Glass Ensemble, with which he still performs on keyboards. He has written fifteen operas, numerous chamber operas and musical theatre works, fourteen symphonies, twelve concertos, nine string quartets and various other chamber music, and many film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for an Academy Award. Glass was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 31, 1937, the son of Ida (née Gouline) and Benjamin Charles Glass. His family were Lithuanian-Jewish emigrants. His father owned a record store and his mother was a librarian. In his memoir, Glass recalls that at the end of World War II his mother aided Jewish Holocaust survivors, inviting recent arrivals to America to stay at their home until they could find a job and a place to live. She developed a plan to help them learn English and develop skills so they could find work. His sister, Sheppie, would later do similar work as an active member of the International Rescue Committee.
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