How I met Philip Glass

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Some time ago, Raymond Chen blogged about the Glass Engine, and asked Marc Miller to tell the story of how he met Philip Glass. It appears that Marc never did, so I’ll post my story.

Actually, it’s not very exciting. Circa 1989, he was doing a concert tour, playing some of his compositions on solo piano. One stop was at the McCarter Theater (part of Princeton University). After the show, as I was leaving, I bumped into a friend, who worked there. He said he was about to head backstage to ask Glass to autograph a CD of his, and would I like to come. I said sure, and he led the way. I got him to sign my program, and asked if there was going to be a production of “The Making of the Representative for Planet 8” any time soon. (It had premiered in Houston the year before, and then pretty much disappeared – it still hasn’t been recorded). He said that there may be one in NYC in the next year, but I never heard anything about it.

However, I have a better story of a similar vein. For many years, I’ve attended the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Next Wave” festival. (Buying a ticket to their first production of Glass & Robert Wilson’s “Einstein on the Beach” was the very first thing I did after landing a job after being graduated from college). Since BAM is a 50 miles round for me, I normally get a subscription with mostly Sunday matinées performance. One year, my subscription include one Saturday evening performance – For Robert Wilson’s “the CIVIL warS” (with music by Glass)– opening night as it turned out. It was also the Saturday before Christmas, and lower Manhattan was in gridlock, so I arrived about 45 minutes late. I was directed to the standing room section with the other late comers and was told I’d be seated when the first act ended. My view was blocked by a very tall man in the front of the standees, and I was just about to ask him to move to the rear, when the act ended. Just then someone walked up to the very tall man and said, “Great show, Bob”, at which point I realized that the very tall man was the playwright, Robert Wilson.

Two more quick ones: At a performance of “1000 Airplanes on the Roof” (Directed, and with music by, Philip Glass), directly behind me was Peter Schickele (aka, PDQ Bach). And, at a concert by Meredith Monk, a few rows away was Laurie Anderson. As we were filing out into the aisles to leave after the show, she ended up right next to me, so I was able to say hello, and that I was a big fan.