Words Without Music: A Memoir (Paperback)

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Item: 9780871404381

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Words Without Music: A Memoir (Paperback)
By Philip Glass

The long-awaited memoir by “the most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers” (New York Times).

A world-renowned composer of symphonies, operas, and film scores, Philip Glass has, almost single-handedly, crafted the dominant sound of late-twentieth-century classical music. Yet here in Words Without Music, he creates an entirely new and unexpected voice, that of a born storyteller and an acutely insightful chronicler, whose behind-the-scenes recollections allow readers to experience those moments of creative fusion when life so magically merged with art.

“If you go to New York City to study music, you’ll end up like your uncle Henry,” Glass’s mother warned her incautious and curious nineteen-year-old son. One could hardly blame Mrs. Glass for worrying that her precocious Philip would end up as a musical vagabond after initially failing to get into Juilliard. Yet, the transformation of a young man from budding musical prodigy to world-renowned composer is the story of this commanding memoir.

From his childhood in post–World War II Baltimore to his student days in Chicago, from Juilliard to his first journey to Paris, where he studied under the formidable Nadia Boulanger, Glass movingly recalls his early mentors, while reconstructing the places that helped shape his artistic consciousness. From a life-changing trip to India, where he met with gurus and first learned of Gandhi’s Salt March, to the gritty streets of New York in the 1970s, where the composer worked blue-collar day jobs and led the life of a bohemian artist.

Whether describing working as an unlicensed plumber or composing Satyagraha, Glass breaks across genres and re-creates, here in words, the thrill that results from artistic creation. Words Without Music ultimately affirms the power of music to change the world.

 

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (May 3, 2016)
  • Dimensions: 5.6” W x 1.2” D x 8.3” H


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