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Philip Glass in the Eye of the Storm

June 18, 1989|DONNA PERLMUTTER

Philip Glass is a one-time student heretic who repudiated hardline compositional techniques in favor of the easy-access theater music he now writes.

He is among the most sought-after composers of the day.

At 52, he can be credited for selling out opera houses where his "Einstein on the Beach," "Satyagraha" and "Akhnaten" have been staged.

A pied piper of sorts, he appeals to--and indeed helped define--a crossover generation looking for something more refined than Guns N' Roses but not quite so formalist as Beethoven.

Asked to comment on the criticism he has received from his colleagues, Glass says:

"I think it's sad, all this name-calling, and I don't want to be drawn into it. But the genuine response from my audience offsets any criticism from the academic quarter. I'm out there in the real world of performance, a vital world. And maybe that's why, in spite of the nasty comments, my high opinion of their music doesn't change. The bottom line is: I can afford to feel this way."

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