I met Philip Glass tonight, but that was only the icing on the awesomecake of the evening.
But this blog will never be my deeply artistic thoughts about a program. I leave that to greater ears than mine. What impressed me most tonight was Glass himself. He spent an hour at an open reception after his premiere (paired with Bruckner 6), and I stood there for most of that time watching him interact with our patrons.
What a genuine, compassionate, patient, giving man. Glass, 75 years old and the most well-known living composer in the world, has the kind of clout that would allow you to phone it in. Right? Would anybody stop him if he left after 10 minutes? Who would be surprised if he were a bit of a diva, didn’t want to take photos, wouldn’t personalize autographs?
But I watched him for an hour. Standing the entire time, he greeted each person by name, spent a few minutes really talking with them and giving them his attention. Signing things, snapping pictures. Some of my friends approached him— one, an elementary school teacher, requested a video greeting that she could show her classroom. He graciously acquiesced.
I should also mention that he’s here for a residency, which is definitely a more in-depth engagement than we get with many artists. Glass is the CSO’s Creative Director for the Boundless series this season, and so we have more access to him than we might have otherwise.
Glass seemed pleased (naturally) that there were so many young people in attendance, and so many people from out of town. (One of my friends had driven ~4 hours for this performance, before she even knew she was going to get to meet him.)
Still… I walked away respecting Philip Glass as a person, outside of being an amazing composer and visionary. I hope he was completely exhausted by the positive attention he received tonight— that he felt respected, adored, revered. How he has stayed so down-to-earth and approachable is beyond me!