Philip Glass, a world-class musician and pianist, has come to UVA as part of this year’s Arts Board Residency.
Funded through student activities fees, the Arts Board is responsible for bringing artists to UVA for residencies and for promoting the Arts on Grounds. The program rotates between the music, drama, and studio art departments each year. As part of the music program this year, Philip Glass visited UVA for a short residency, with events ranging from a concert on April 1st to a workshop with graduate students at OpenGrounds.
Earlier this week on Wednesday the 2nd, graduate students from the Music Department had the opportunity to interact with Glass in an intimate conversation at OpenGrounds. The roundtable was a casual way for students to engage Mr. Glass and inquire about what led to his success as a musician.
Part inspirational, part paternal and part anecdotal– the conversation with Mr. Glass covered subjects ranging from how, as a young man trying to enter the music industry, he had to work for free and even pay for recording time. Such sacrifices, Mr. Glass says, are a part of the road to success. After gaining a bit of traction in the industry, Mr. Glass began working on films and musical numbers. In this work, he found a way for his music to not only be the backdrop to a film, but an essential part of its plot.
Currently in his career, Mr. Glass is often approached by filmakers interested on working with him on the musical backbone to their films. When asked if he could compose musical pieces to “fix” a certain part of a film, Mr. Glass usually asks the filmmaker to change the film first then come back with a different proposition.
What Glass’s residency brings to UVA is more than a well-known face and name–but the lessons learned from a person whose career involved unconventional twists and turns that lead to achieving great things. Music students and others alike have a lot to learn from the way Glass maneuvered his way in the music industry and collaborated with some of the world’s most respected musicians and opera conductors.
OpenGrounds is proud to have taken a small part in Glass’ residency and hopes to continue the conversation about furthering the reach of the arts into the lives of students and community members.