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Video Published: 05 Feb 2024

NEA Opera Honors: An Oral History with Philip Glass

In 2010, composer Philip Glass was awarded an NEA Opera Honors award and sat down for an interview about opera and their life.

This interview was originally posted by the NEA on October 25, 2010.
The Oral History Project is supported by the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation. 

Philip Glass, composer

Philip Glass has composed more than 30 operas, 14 symphonies, 13 concertos, 9 string quartets, and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has also written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun. His musical style has been dubbed “minimalism,” though Glass prefers to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” His collaborators have ranged from pop artists such as Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt to writers Allen Ginsberg and Doris Lessing, among many others. Many of his operas have been produced by the world's leading opera houses; they include Einstein on the Beach (1976), Satyagraha (1980), Akhnaten (1983), Hydrogen Jukebox (1990), and Appomattox (2007). Glass has presented lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world and appeared regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble, which he founded in 1968.

Glass was a 2010 recipient of the NEA Opera Honors, a program administered by the National Endowment for the Arts from 2008 to 2011. The NEA Opera Honors recipients are now recognized in OPERA America’s Opera Hall of Fame.

Oral History Project

Discover the full collection of oral histories at the link below.