Philip Glass Brings 20 Études To The Barbican

The American Minimal pioneer will perform his complete Études for Piano at the Barbican Hall this April.

One of the most influential composers since the 1970s, American avant-garde minimal composer Philip Glass is renowned for compositional epics such as ‘Music in 12 Parts’ (1974) and ‘Einstein On The Beach’ (1978).

In 1991 Glass started composing a series of twenty piano pieces titled ‘The Études’, (around the time he was making Hydrogen Jukebox with Allen Ginsberg and scoring A Brief History of Time with film-maker Errol Morris) to expand his piano technique with music that would enhance and challenge his playing. Each piece takes a unique approach to the instrument and the result is a magnificent body of work that has a broad range of dynamic, tempo and emotion. Throughout the 1990s he composed the first sixteen études and the final four were commissioned in celebration of his 75th birthday in 2012.

In culmination of twenty years work, we have been gifted with a rare performance from the auteur at the Barbican Hall, Glass (77) will perform alongside pianists Maki Namekawa and Timo Andres on April 29th. The first outing of all twenty pieces was showcased at the 2014 Next Wave festival, for two nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York in December. An introspective portrait of the composer over two decades, The Études is an immersive journey into one composer’s personal soundscape as expressed in the depth and breadth of a single instrument. Within those two decades there were works as varied as string compositions for the Kronos Quartet, to scores for cult films such as The Truman Show to Secret Window.

While Glass is certainly approaching the mature stages of his life, his music will outshine us all. If you’re looking for somewhere to start we can recommend his, his scores for documentaries: Koyaanisquatsi and The Thin Blue Line, the ‘REWORK_’ Compilation which featuring edits of his work from the likes of Amon Tobin, Nosaj Thing, Pantha Du Prince & Beck.

Philip Glass will perform The Études at the Barbican Hall in London on April 29th Tickets are currently subject to availability so keep an eye on the Barbican’s website and this event page for updates

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