Composer Philip Glass to perform in Vail Sunday |

Composer Philip Glass to perform in Vail Sunday

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to DailyMusic lovers take note: Composer Philip Glass performs during opening night at the Vail International Dance Festival.

VAIL ” On Sunday evening the Vail International Dance Festival opens with an evening of dance and music, headlined by composer Philip Glass in his first performance in Vail. Glass will accompany several dances staged to his inimitable compositions, to be performed by stars from New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He will also be joined by cellist Wendy Sutter, who will perform a section of the acclaimed opus Glass composed for her last year, Songs and Poems for Solo Cello.

The dances set to Glass’ music will include a world premier starring the Taiwanese former Martha Graham star Fang-Yi Sheu. The opening night performance also features the Paul Taylor Dance Company in the masterpiece Esplanade and in an excerpt from Cloven Kingdom, stars from Pacific Northwest Ballet in a pas de deux from Balanchine’s Chaconne and Morphoses star Wendy Whelan in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain (pas de deux). The entire performance will be performed to live music, including a string orchestra and percussion ensemble assembled especially for the Taylor works.

“Integrating live music into the festival is an extremely important element for me,” said Vail International Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel. “We are so fortunate this summer to be able to bring Philip Glass to Vail for the Dance Festival ” it is a tremendous honor to have one of the world’s greatest artists and composers share our stage.”

Born and raised in Baltimore, Glass studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones, and worked closely with sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.

The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism,” although Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds and develops.

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Over the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than 20 operas, eight symphonies, soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma and Doris Lessing, among many others.

He has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as “The Hours” and Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun.”

“Koyaanisqatsi,” his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since “Fantasia.” His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music — simultaneously.

Tickets for the Vail International Dance Festival’s Opening Night are priced at $17 for general admission lawn seating and $65 and $85 for reserved pavilion seating and may be purchased online at or by calling 970-845-TIXS (8497) or 1-888-920-ARTS (2787).

In addition to opening night, individual tickets for the 2008 Vail International Dance Festival are priced from $17 to $85, with ticket packages also available. The 2008 Vail International Dance Festival runs from July 27 through Aug. 9, with performances at both the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

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