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Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes

with Philip Glass, Timo Andres, Aaron Diehl, Lisa Kaplan, and Maki Namekawa
Saturday, February 20, 2016 / 7:00 pm

Composer Philip Glass and 4 pianists will illuminate the 30-year evolution of Glass’s compositional voice, in a performance of The Complete Piano Etudes.

Few living composers today have shaped the landscape of music, opera, film, dance, and stage as formidably as Philip Glass. He continually investigates ways to forge a new musical vocabulary that integrates the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic in strikingly original ways. And yet even for a modern-day virtuoso and one of our time’s most prolific, tradition-shattering composers, there is room for artistic growth. In 1994, Glass resolved to become a better pianist, conceiving his études as a set of 20 solo-piano works to hone his skills and explore textures, tempi, and techniques. Like Frédéric Chopin’s transcendent études, Glass’s lyrical creations elevate far above mere practice exercises. They span a stylistic spectrum from gentle relaxation to aggressive urgency and back again, as if tracing the emotional arc of human life as seen through his deeply personal relationship to his instrument. Inspired by the format of the recent critically acclaimed presentation of The Complete Piano Etudes at the 2014 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), this revelatory concert will feature Glass and four other pianists taking turns illuminating the 30-year evolution of his musical voice from their own individual vantage points. Joining him for this monumental concert will be: stalwart Glass interpreter Maki Namekawa, whose recently released recording of The Complete Piano Etudes has been widely lauded; jazz prodigy Aaron Diehl; maverick composer Timo Andres; and Lisa Kaplan, founding pianist of the three-time Grammy®-winning contemporary music ensemble Eighth Blackbird. This special Convocations engagement is the second major component of our dedicatory recitals with the new Steinway concert grand piano, as well as Glass’s third visit to Purdue following his appearances with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1984 and 1,000 Airplanes on the Roof in 1989.

Program Notes

Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes


The Glenn Gould Prize was just bestowed on Glass in April 2015. This award—considered the Nobel Prize of the arts—recognizes unique lifetime contributions that have enriched the human condition through the arts.

Glass has collaborated with artists such as Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, Leonard Cohen, David Byrne, Natalie Merchant, Aphex Twin, Iggy Pop, and Mick Jagger.

PRE-SHOW / 6 PM / STEW 279

Pianist and composer Judd Danby will discuss Philip Glass’s compositional approach and The Complete Piano Etudes.

I sometimes hear about work described in terms of “originality,” or “breakthrough,” but my personal experience is quite different. For me music has always been about lineage. The past is reinvented and becomes the future. But the lineage is everything.”
–Philip Glass


SEPT 11 / Piano Dedication Recital with Sean Chen and Eric Zuber
SEPT 18 / Rising Stars of Metropolitan Opera
OCT 22 / Cécile McLorin Salvant
NOV 13 / In Mo Yang, violin
JAN 22 / DIVA Jazz Orchestra (Purdue Jazz Festival)
FEB 20 / Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes
APR 7 / SFJAZZ Collective: The Michael Jackson Project
APR 16 / Les Violons du Roy with Alexandre Tharaud, piano

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