“People compose for many reasons: to become immortal; because the pianoforte happens to be open; because they want to become a millionaire; because of the praise of friends; because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes; for no reason whatsoever.”

Robert Schumann (via leadingtone)

So many reasons. For myself, I have another reason… the energy of young people in my life.

In my day job at Sydney Children’s Choir, we have a whole lot of different choirs named after composers that have written music for kids over the years. This term is the first term of the Whitwell Choir, named after yours truly, and they make their performance debut tomorrow singing a song that I co-wrote with their peers in the Stanhope, Atherton and Twist Choirs last term. (Those choirs are named after Paul Stanhope, Michael Atherton and Joseph Twist respectively).

Today in our final rehearsal, the kids were so so great. Their sound was energetic and muscular, their diction clear, their storytelling compelling… and they’re all only 8-9 years old!

Truly. It’s made me wonder… what if adults always performed with this kind of energy? Imagine how amazing it would be!

“Before the age of fourteen, I’d never heard any music before about 1750, I’d never heard any music after Wagner, and I’d never heard any real jazz, I’d heard y’know hit parade and that kinda stuff. At the age of fourteen within three or four months, I heard recordings of The Rite of Spring, the 5th Brandenburg Concerto and bebop. Charlie Parker and Kenny Clarke, the drummer, and Miles Davis. And as I’ve said many times, it was like if you’d lived in a house and someone said “Well, you’ve lived here for fourteen years but there’s one room you haven’t seen yet”, and I went in that room and that’s where I lived. I never left.”
American composer Steve Reich speaks on his musical influences during his residency at Sydney Opera House in 2012.  Full video interview here.  It was an incredible experience to perform at this event, which has been nominated for a Helpmann Award.  Yay us!
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

John Lennon.

You may scoff, but these words are why this is so important to me.

“I would suggest that the what we call ‘creative’ people are actually mentally more well balanced than people who don’t have that outlet, so to speak, or that ability.”

Philip Glass speaks at the World Science Festival, 2011

The blurb from their website - “When talking about geniuses, the conversation inevitably strays towards topics of eccentricity, or even madness. One needs only to look at the lives of artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Mark Rothko, or to mathematician John Nash (pictured)—whose battle with paranoid schizophrenia was made famous in the film A Beautiful Mind—as examples of the thin line between brilliance and insanity. But is there really anything to this idea of the “tortured genius”? Or is it just a romanticized notion exaggerated by film and literature? Philip Glass and Julie Taymor respond to striking data presented by Dean Keith Simonton, a psychologist who has studied the nature of genius for decades.” 

Check out the video of their conversation here

“What I know now is the time that we have to be with the people closest to us is never enough”
Philip Glass shattering his idea of an artist’s life in The Daily Beast

Une femme sans amour, c’est comme une fleur sans soleil, ça dépérit



(A woman with love
just as easily
loses strength
for carrying groceries
or her own hands.
Women are are not flowers,
no one is the sun.)

Actually, Yolande Moreau’s character Madeleine says this in the film Amélie… but I still rather like the poem ;)


From “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts”
 I have a friend, uh, who’s a writer. And he says that his writing is the antidote to the chaos of the world around him. I think, uh, that’s a good description. He retreats into that world. That becomes more important to him than the world he sees. Uh, I suppose, uh, some people might not think that’s such a great thing but he thinks it is. It’s all real, it’s just what you choose to establish as the core of your being. He makes the core of his life - oh, an act of imagination. Is it escape or is it liberation? I don’t know. You tell me, I don’t know, I have no idea, I don’t know anything about these things. For him, that person, um, writing - is a, um - it’s a reso - resolution of his life. It - it - it makes his life solid and real. Without, without that the world would overwhelm him with its chaos. So is it escape to become sane? Or - or is the insanity of the world - so which is the escape? I don’t know.
“When you hear for the first time the music you have composed, there is that astonishing moment when the idea that you carried in your heart and your mind comes back to you in the hands of a musician. People always ask, “Is it what you thought it would be?” And that’s a very interesting question, because once you hear it in the air, so to speak, it’s almost impossible to remember what it was you imagined. The reality of the sound eclipses your experience. The solitary dreamer is wondering: Will the horns sound good here? Will this flute sound good there? But then when you actually hear it, you’re certainly in a different place. The experience of that is my god.”

Philip Glass

read more: Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/philip-glass-quotes-0109#ixzz1VEcaPFYN

(via musicbylittlewarrior)

I’ve blogged excerpts from this interview with Philip Glass before… it’s certainly one of the most interesting ones I’ve read!

“Being culturally educated does not require that you like Philip Glass.”
Philip Glass in Newser
“The question is: What’s the mill? Not: What’s the grist?”
Philip Glass, from Esquire Magazine, 9 January, 2009.

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

Philip Glass
“For me, music as a language is the most eloquent, the most sublime, the most nuanced. It has the most potential to move.”

Philip Glass (via rarnt)

From Andrew Zuckerman’s Music:the Book

“My feeling about notating scores is that a good musician knows what to do and a poor musician will never get it right anyway.”
Philip Glass on why he sometimes doesn’t put specific metronome markings on his scores. Spoken during a 2010 masterclass at Louisiana State University
“Let’s put it this way, we live in a country where, when we talk about arts, what we mean is entertainment. We’ve completely lost the distinction between art and entertainment. It doesn’t make any sense. This is a country that feels the arts should pay for themselves because entertainment makes money.”
Philip Glass interviewed in the Chicago Tribune, way back in 1997.  Read the rest of the interview here.