Philip Glass Quotes

Who is Philip Glass?

Quotes by Philip Glass on The Cite Site Philip Glass is an American composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the most influential composers of the 20the century.

His work has been associated with minimalism consisting of repeated phrases. Glass is also an acclaimed film score composer known for 'The Hours', 'Koyaanisqatsi' and 'The Truman Show'.

Born January 31, 1937
Age 86 years old

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Best 49 Quotes by Philip Glass – Page 1 of 2

“A new language requires a new technique. If what you're saying doesn't require a new language, then what you're saying probably isn't new.”

“Akhnaten is kind of a dark, kind of mysterious character. We don't know a lot about him – a lot of information on him was lost.

But he obviously was a kind of iconoclast of him time. I guess I'm attracted to people like that. Like Albert Einstein also, who radically changed our way of thinking about the world we live in.”

“Finally, ultimately, you write music for yourself. I mean, I need a public, I need people to play, I need everything else. I'm not working in isolation.

But finally the man that writes the music is alone. And I have to respond to those criteria which are almost like inner needs or inner responses.”

“I always knew what I wanted to do and I did it.”

“I don't know what I'm doing and it's the not knowing that makes it interesting.”

“I shift between mediums very frequently. Instead of taking a break from writing, I just write in a different medium or in a different way or for a different purpose, so that I don't actually stop writing – I just go to something else.

Like going from a big symphony to a piano piece is great and very refreshing, I find. And then going from that to a big concerto, and then having to go out and play.”

“I think it's a great handicap to be discovered at an early age. I didn't have that burden of early success.

I had the much more livable and durable career where success comes late, and comes slowly, and you ease into it. So by the time it comes, you're ready to deal with it.”

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“I travel the world, and I'm happy to say that America is still the great melting pot – maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean.”

“I'd say the differences are more interesting than the similarities at this point. Certainly no one would ever mistake my music for Steve Reich's.”

“I'm interested in what happens to music when other people use it. Whereas there are composers who don't like anyone to touch their music, I think people should because they do things I can't think of.”

“I've been called a minimalist composer for more than 30 years, and while I've never really agreed with the description, I've gotten used to it.”

“If you don't have a basis on which to make the choice, then you don't have a style at all. You have a series of accidents.”

“If you remember your lineage, you will never feel lonely.”

“In order to arrive at a personal style, you have to have a technique to begin with.”

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“In retrospect, I think those people dressed in costumes walking up Montparnasse must have seen something before anybody else did.

When they looked at me and said, 'This guy comes with us', I think it wasn't just an accident, it was as clear a sign as I would ever get that I was going to enter the life of the artist.

I was going to disrobe myself, I was going to put on a new identity, I was going to be somebody else.”

“It doesn't need to be imagined, it needs to be written down.”

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“My biggest problem about writing is whenever I write piano pieces, because I then have to learn to play them, which is sometimes not so easy.”

“Openings and closings, beginnings and endings. Everything in between passes as quickly as the blink of an eye.

An eternity precedes the opening and another, if not the same, follows the closing. Somehow everything that lies in between seems for a moment more vivid.

What is real to us becomes forgotten, and what we don't understand will be forgotten, too.”

“The point of writing music and experiencing music isn’t to make people comfortable necessarily.”

“The problem with listening, of course, is that we don't. There's too much noise going on in our heads, so we never hear anything.

The inner conversation simply never stops. It can be our voice or whatever voices we want to supply, but it's a constant racket.

In the same way we don't see, and in the same way we don't feel, we don't touch, we don't taste.”

“The work I've done is the work I know, and the work I do is the work I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing.”

“There's almost no content in terms of language at all. I don't like using language to convey meaning. I'd rather use images and music.”

“Traditions are imploding and exploding everywhere – everything is coming together, for better or worse, and we can no longer pretend were all living in different worlds because were on different continents.”

“What came to me as a revelation was the use of rhythm in developing an overall structure in music.”

“What you hear depends on how you focus your ear. We're not talking about inventing a new language, but rather inventing new perceptions of existing languages.”

“When I work with Godfrey Reggio, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the image. I look at it once. Maybe twice, but not more than twice.

Then I depend on the inaccuracy of my memory to create the appropriate distance between the music and the image. I knew right away that the image and the music could not be on top of each other, because then there would be no room for the spectators to invent a place for themselves.

Of course, in commercials and propaganda films, the producers don’t want to leave a space: the strategy of propaganda is not to leave a space, not to leave any question. Commercials are propaganda tools in which image and music are locked together in order to make an explicit point, like 'Buy these shoes' or 'Go to this casino'.

The strategy of art is precisely the opposite. I would describe it this way: When you listen to a piece of music and you look at an image at the same time, you are metaphorically making a journey to that image.

It’s a metaphorical distance, but it’s a real one all the same, and it’s in that journey that the spectator forms a relationship to the music and the image. Without that, it’s all made for us and we don’t have to invent anything.

In works like Godfrey’s, and in works, for that matter, like Bob Wilson’s, the spectators are supposed to invent something. They are supposed to tell the story of Einstein.

In Godfrey’s movies Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi, the words in the title are the only words there are. The journey that we make from the armchair to the image is the process by which we make the image and the music our own.

Without that, we have no personal connection. The idea of a personal interpretation comes about through traversing that distance.”

“You get up early in the morning and you work all day. That’s the only secret.”

Philip Glass Quotes

“What I've noticed is that people who love what they do, regardless of what that might be, tend to live longer.”

Philip Glass

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“You practice and you get better. It's very simple.”

Philip Glass

Words Without Music Quotes

“An authentic personal style cannot be achieved without a solid technique at its base.”

Words Without Music

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