Words Without Music: A Memoir

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$29.95  $27.85
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.53 X 1.48 X 9.52 inches | 1.71 pounds

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About the Author

Philip Glass was born in Baltimore in 1937 and studied at the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. The composer of operas, film scores, and symphonies, he performs regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble and lives in New York.

Philip Glass's place in musical history is secure.
America's most significant symphonist.
An icon of the avant-garde.
The most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers.
[Glass has] fascinated several generations of listeners, demonstrating mesmeric properties that are as palpable as they are inexplicable.--Alex Ross
[A]n engaging, even charming book, one of the most readable autobiographies ever written by a classical composer.--Terry Teachout
Lively and colorful.... Glass is one of the most articulate composers around. Insight and practical common sense pervade his new book.... With a composer's sense of form, Glass returns, in the final pages, to his youth, the subject that elicits his most evocative writing.--Kyle Gann
Glass, a key figure of musical minimalism, was one of the first composers to reject a distinction between "ethnic" music and Western classical music, and in this memoir he explains how he came to view a composition not as a linear narrative but as progressive rhythmic sequences.
An engaging memoir of an adventuresome, iconoclastic career...Writing with warmth and candor, Glass portrays himself as driven, self-confident and tenaciously determined to invent his own, radically new musical language.
No matter your opinion of Glass' music, you will like Glass the man....Aspiring musicians and artists will learn much from Glass, as will general readers, musical or not, who will discover an artistic life exceptionally well lived.
An appealing memoir from one of the foremost creative geniuses of the last fifty years, Philip Glass's homespun reminiscences are as accessible as his entrancing musical compositions. In his epic quest to discover 'where the music comes from, ' Glass chronicles his transformative, lifelong journey across four continents, including his musical epiphany with Ravi Shankar, which had a dramatic impact on contemporary instrumental music and opera.--Peter Gelb
At its core, Glass's story is about work...he worked as a mover, a plumber, and a taxi driver to keep his family fed during his decades of obscurity, and since then he has immersed himself in the craft of composing. Glass is raptly alive to the aesthetic epiphanies, philosophy, spirituality, and magnetic personalities he has encountered, yet his prose is conversational and free of pretense. The result is a lively, absorbing read that makes Glass's rarefied cultural sphere wonderfully accessible.
An absorbing, graceful, and humane window into the interior life of one of our most important and arguably most famous composers.... For everyone who has been fascinated and moved by his music, the book will be full of deep insights into how Glass the man became Glass the composer.--George Grella
Well-supplied with droll observations and plainspoken assessments regarding the details of a career that has been as remarkable and noteworthy as any in American music--indeed, in American culture.... Honest and candid.--Steve Smith
A joy to read... Considering the insight he provides into the various works he does discuss (particularly the operas and early minimalist pieces), anyone with a passing interest in Glass will come away with a better understanding of this musical giant's creative process and influence.--Noah Cruickshank
So bursting with culture and anecdote that names and stories virtually explode out of it... Gloriously readable.--Jeff Simon
Fascinating.... Glass's wry observations of those he has worked with--alongside memories of those he has loved and lost--remind us of the human scale of his achievement over the years, and of how the years are numbered.--Nick Shave
Words Without Music is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. The book overflows with love and enthusiasm for life and art. Philip Glass's vision of human culture as the transmission of ideas through time is transcendent. Hilarious, touching and profound, this book should be read by everyone interested in music and great writing.--Laurie Anderson
Words Without Music is a sustained performance with fascinating scenes and a lucid text. If there is a 'music' to this book, it is the regular rhythm that being in the presence of someone humble and kind allows--it is a comfort and a constancy.--Michael Coffey