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Philip Glass

Prolific minimalist

Born January 31, 1937, Baltimore, Maryland
About Philip Glass

Glass, a pioneer of the minimalist school, made his name as a composer with his first opera, Einstein on the Beach. Throughout his career, opera, along with film music, has been a major focus of his work.

  • Einstein on the Beach, opera in four acts and five 'kneeplays'
    Libretto by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson, and Lucinda Childs.
    July 25, 1976, Avignon Festival, Avignon, France; also 21 Nov. 1976, Metropolitan Opera, New York, New York (US premiere)
  • Attacca, madrigal opera (1980)
  • Satyagraha: M. K. Gandhi in South Africa, opera in three acts
    Libretto by the composer and Constance DeJong after the Bhagavadgita.
    September 5, 1980, Stadsschouwburg, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; also 29 July 1981, Artpark, Lewiston, New York (US premiere)
    (in sanskrit)
  • The Photographyer (1982)
  • The Panther (1982) [rev. of Attacca]
  • the CIVIL warS (Rome section) (1984)
  • the CIVIL warS (Cologne section) (1984) [additional music]
  • Akhenaten, opera in three acts with prologue and epilogue
    Libretto by the composer, Shalom Goldman, Robert Israel, and Richard Riddell after historical and miscellaneous sources.
    March 24, 1984, Stuttgart, Germany; also 12 October 1984, Houston, Texas (US premiere)
  • The Juniper Tree, children's opera (1985)
    (with Robert Moran)
  • A Descent into the Maelstrom (1986)
  • The Making of the Representative for Planet 8
    Libretto by libretto by Doris Lessing after her novel of the same name.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher, chamber opera in two acts with prologue
    Libretto by Arthur Yorinks after the short story by Edgar Allan Poe.
    May 18, 1988, American Rep., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 1000 Airplanes On the Roof, theatre piece
    Libretto by David Henry Hwang.
  • Hydrogen Jukebox, multimedia theater work (1990)
  • The Voyage, opera in three acts with prologue and epilogue
    Libretto by David Henry Hwang.
    October 12, 1992, Metropolitan Opera, New York, New York
  • Orphée, opera in two acts
    Libretto by Philip Glass after the film of Jean Cocteau.
    May 14, 1993, American Rep., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Les Enfants Terribles, dance opera
    Libretto by Philip Glass and Susan Marshall after after the film of Jean Cocteau.
    May 18, 1996, Theatre Casino, Zug, Switzerland
  • The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five, opera in two acts
    Libretto by Doris Lessing after her novel of the same name.
    May 10, 1997, Theater der Stadt Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Monsters of Grace, digital opera in three dimensions
    Libretto by Coleman Barks after the writings of Rumi.
    April 15, 1998, Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
  • The White Raven, opera in five acts
    Libretto by Luísa Costa Gomes.
    September 26, 1998, Julio Verne Auditorium, Teatro Camões, Lisbon, Portugal
    (with Robert Wilson)
  • In the Penal Colony, chamber opera
    Libretto by Rudolph Wurlitzer after the story by Franz Kafka.
    August 31, 2000, ACT, Seattle, Washington
  • Galileo Galilei, opera in ten scenes
    Libretto by Philip Glass, Arnold Weinstein and Mary Zimmerman.
    July 24, 2002, Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois
  • The Sound of a Voice
    Libretto by David Henry Hwang.
    May 24, 2003
  • Waiting for the Barbarians, opera in two acts
    Libretto by Christopher Hampton after the novel by John M. Coetzee.
    September 10, 2005, Erfurt Theater, Erfut, Germany
  • Appomattox
    Libretto by Christopher Hampton after the novel by John M. Coetzee.
    October 5, 2007, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco, California

Discography Search for recordings of the music of Philip Glass at Amazon.com

Philip Glass


2 CD / Sony (1984)

Excerpts from Einstein on the Beach

Excerpts from Satyagraha

Excerpts from Akhenaten


Philip Glass

Songs from the Trilogy

CD / Sony (1989)

Philip Glass

The CIVIL warS, Act V: Rome section

CD / Nonesuch 79487 (1999)

Philip Glass

La Belle et la Bete

2 CD / Nonesuch 79347 (1995)

Philip Glass

Einstein on the Beach (original recording rereleased)

4 CD / Sony 38875 (1976)

Philip Glass

Hydrogen Jukebox

CD / Nonesuch 79286 (1993)

Philip Glass

The Photographer

CD / Sony 37849 (1992)

Philip Glass

1000 Airplanes on the Roof

CD / Virgin (1992)

Philip Glass


New York City Opera

3 CD / Sony 39672 (1993)

Philip Glass

Einstein on the Beach

3 CD / Nonesuch 79323 (1993)

Videography Search for DVDs of the music of Philip Glass at Amazon.com

Philip Glass


Dennis Russel Davies cond.

DVD / Image Entertainment (1993)

Philip Glass

Beauty and the Beast (Criterion Collection) (includes the Glass opera as an alternate soundtrack to the film)

Jean Cocteau

DVD / Criterion (1947)

Philip Glass

Last update: January 13, 2009 | Image license