Philip Glass to play at Divadlo Archa

The famous composer will perform some of his piano works

A true musical original, Philip Glass will come to Prague on Nov. 9 at 8 pm at Divadlo Archa. He will be accompanied by Japanese pianist Maki Namekawa.

Glass, who turns 80 on Jan. 31, is perhaps still best-known for his distinctive soundtrack to the 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi and its 1988 sequel Powaqqatsi. Since then, he has three times been nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtracks: for the 1997 biopic Kundun, the 2002 drama The Hours and the 2006 thriller Notes on a Scandal. He won a Golden Globe for this score for the 1999 drama The Truman Show.

He will be playing some of his solo works for piano, including the latest compositions from The Etudes series.

This in not Glass' first time at Archa. He performed with with poet Allen Ginsberg there in 1996. Over the next two years Archa presented the concert version of the opera The Fall of the House of Usher, based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The Czech premiere of Glass's opera In the Penal Colony, based on a story by Franz Kafka, was performed in 2005 as part of a marathon of contemporary music. In 2014 Archa saw the premiere of the Glass's Symphony No. 3, performed by the Ensemble Inégal.

Glass also appeared in Ostrava in north Moravia is 2013 with his ensemble to play Music in Twelve Parts.

Critics consider him to one of the most significant composers of the late 20th and early 21st century. Glass says that he writes “music with repetitive structures,” and he does not like the term minimalist. He also prefers to be described as a classicist. He considers Music in Twelve Parts, written 1971–74, to be the end of his minimalist phase.

In the 1970s he also began to cooperate with experimental theater director Robert Wilson on projects such as the opera Einstein on the Beach. He also wrote operas about the early life of Mahatma Gandhi and about the life and religious convictions of the pharaoh Akhenaten, which together make up his Portrait Trilogy.

The 1980s proved to be a prolific decade for Glass, with him working on a projects including popular music in collaboration with artists like David Byrne and Paul Simon, films scores, more operas, and orchestral works.

He continued to surprise people in the 1990s, writing a symphony in 1991 based on the David Bowie album Low. In 1997 he revisited the idea with a symphony based on the Bowie album “Heroes.” He also wrote three operas inspired by the writings and films of French surrealist Jean Cocteau.

During the 1990s he also began writing The Etudes series for piano in a post-minimalist and more lyrical style.

He has continued to compose in the 21st century, with several new operas including the politically themed Waiting for the Barbarians, which premiered in 2005, and Appomattox, a 2007 work about the American Civil War.

He also worked with Leonard Cohen in 2007 on a musical adaptation of Cohen's poetry called Book of Longing — Song Cycle Based on the Poetry and Artwork of Leonard Cohen. Glass had worked with Cohen's poetry previously in 1984 for Three Songs for chorus.

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