Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass: Passages

"... I hear you dislike the term "minimalist" (2). Should composers resist such labels?
It's not that I dislike the term – it was accurate for 10 years, from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. But you have to realise that no one's written 'minimalist' music in 30 years: it's like people talking about impressionism when nobody's painting like that any more. Young composers are writing wonderful new music that we don't even have a name for yet.
Where do you seek inspiration?
In stories, images, movement – if I'm working with a dance company, I actually go and watch the dancers; I don't think many composers do that. And within the world of music, from a great master of another tradition. I was Ravi Shankar's assistant in the 60s (3), and his ideas about the language of music had a tremendous effect on my writing. ...

... (2) He is widely reputed to prefer the term 'music with repetitive structures'.
(3) Their best-known recording together, Passages, came later in 1990. ..."
(Laura Barnett, "Philip Glass, Composer," Guardian, 8/13/13)

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