Philip Glass (piano, composer; b. 1937)
So this is a short entry today. Philip Glass is one most interesting and prolific modern composer alive today. While many living composers are still trying to write the next Mahler Symphony, Philip Glass has spent almost 50 years writing original, complex and challenging material which has been performed by ensembles like Bang On A Can, Kronos Quartet and multiple symphony orchestras around the world. Not to mention his own Glass Ensemble. While his music is revered and refiled by different quarters, there is no denying that he is consistently looking at new ways to move classical music forward his sometimes and unfortunate stagnation to its great (and I do mean GREAT) history.
I recently stumble upon two collections that I think would be perfect for the uninitiated. The first is Philip Glass iTunes Live In Soho . This live performance at an Apple store in NYC is a great overview of some of the major pieces by Glass including "Metamorphosis," "Knee Play No.2" and the wonderful "Wichita Vortex" featuring Ira Glass.
The iTunes Live set was nice but the other cool thing I just stumbled upon was a 21 track sampler from Philip Glass' own label called Orange Mountain Music. The Orange Mountain Music Sampler covers material he has writing over a large majority of his career (solo compositions, film music, orchestral and more). It is heavily edited so this isn't really for the Philip Glass aficionado. It's for the new comer and I personally think it fits the bill nicely. Not every track is a winner but Orange Mountain Music Sampler is FREE from the Amazon MP3 store so its well worth checking out just for that. I'm not sure this offer will be up very long but I thought it was fantastic that Amazon offered it. Do yourself a favour and check it out.