When we say seminal, we do not use the term lightly. Philip Glass is widely accepted as a composer who has changed the face of music for our time. Now in his seventies, the evidence of his influence is that young people hear nothing unusual in his music. Having composed more than 20 operas, 50 film scores, 8 symphonies and several concertos, he has certainly made his mark - his work is pervasive, not to mention regularly imitated.
Along with La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich, Glass effectively created a truly American (as opposed to European-influenced) classical music. The four composers became known as the 'major minimalists', however Glass has now distanced himself from the term, having moved on stylistically. Glass now prefers to describe himself as a composer of 'music with repetitive structures.'
In this conversation event Glass was interviewed by conductor and regular Watershed collaborator Charles Hazlewood. The pair covered a wide range of topics relating to film and music. "Film is a special problem," begins Glass. They discuss the importance of composer-director collaboration, and its absence in Hollywood.
Glass describes his creative process as trying to catch butterflies - hearing music in your head and rushing to write it down before it escapes. Glass also controversially insists that the main work of matching music with the images of a film is done by the spectator, but the composer can control the distance between the two, which the audience must traverse.