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Seeing Through Glass: 1 Composer, 2 Events

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Philip Glass is one of the most inventive, admired, and controversial composers of our time.  On Thursday, January 15, MASS MoCA will screen Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, a documentary by the filmmaker Scott Hicks that explores the contemporary composer’s creative process and offers candid glimpses into his personal and spiritual life.  Then, the following evening, the man himself will appear. 

In conversation with the Boston Phoenix film critic Jerry Peary, Glass will try, with the aid of clips from the many films he has scored, as well as bits of performance, to explain his unique take on the relationship between music and the moving image.  In feature films such as Kundun, The Hours, The Truman Show, The Thin Blue Line, and Fog of War, Glass has used music to help shape narrative.  He sees film as one of the two new art forms (jazz being the second) born in the 20th century.  “In its first 100 years,” he says, “it has created a new kind of literature, one that the world of live music, experimental theatre, dance, and even opera can draw on, just as, in the past, novels, plays and poems became the basis of new music and theatre works.”

In anticipation of Glass’s 70th birth, filmmaker Hicks (“Shine”) started shooting his documentary in 2005.  Over the next 18 months, he followed Glass across three continents, capturing on film his annual ride on the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, the world premiere of his new opera in Germany, and a rare performance on a didgeridoo virtuoso in Australia.  Permitted unprecedented access to Glass’ working process, family life, spiritual teachers, and longtime collaborators, including Martin Scorsese, Errol Morris, Chuck Close, and Christopher Hampton, Hicks creates a portrait of one of the greatest artists of this or any era.

Marshall Street, North Adams; 413.662.2111
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts is the first in MASS MoCA’s 2009 winter documentary series, Larger than Life
Thursday, January 15; 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8, $5/students and those attending both nights
Philip on Film
Friday, January 16; 8 p.m.
Tickets: $38/orchestra, $34/mezzanine


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