Perceptions change. You wouldn't have heard much Philip Glass on WXXI-FM a few decades ago. Now his minimalist, relentless, mathmematical works spin out on a regular basis. Several listeners correctly identified the mystery piece on Classical 91.5 Thursday as Glass' "Company." Writer Alex Ross argues that his style is the first original American sound in the classical repertoire.
Last month, the National Endowment for the Arts announced it would give him a lifetime achievement award, which he'll receive at Lincoln Center in October. Other recipients include Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis and fellow family members Delfeayo, Ellis, Jr., Jason, and Wynton; singer Martina Arroyo; David DiChiera, a composer and the general director of the Michigan Opera Theatre; Eve Queler, the music director of Opera Orchestra of New York; Orrin Keepnews, a writer and record producer; flutist Hubert Laws; David Liebman, a saxophonist and flutist; and composer and arranger Johnny Mandel. The list goes on. Also being honored are Yacub Addy, a Ghanaian drummer; fiddler Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, Gladys Kukana Grace, a Lauhala weaver; Mary Jackson, a sweetgrass basketweaver; Delano "Del" Floyd McCoury, a bluegrass guitarist and singer; Judith McCulloh, a folklorist and editor; dancer Kamala Lakshmi; Mike Rafferty, an Irish flute player; and Ezequiel Torres, an Afro-Cuban drummer and drum builder. Each will receive a $25,000 prize.
BTW, composer Philip Glass and This American Life host Ira Glass are cousins. A 2007 film by the Academy-Award winning director of Shine, Scott Hicks, traces the composer's career. The trailer follows.