Philip Glass, one of the most influential and esteemed composers of our time, will bring the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Menil Collection to a finale on Sunday, December 2, when he performs an 80-minute concert of his works. Mr. Glass, who is among the many leading artists who have enjoyed a long relationship with the Menil, will give the concert in the museum’s gala tent, beginning at noon. As with all exhibitions and public programs at the Menil, there is no admission charge, but tickets are required due to limited capacity.
The highlight of the concert will be the premiere of a work commissioned by the Menil for its 25th anniversary, as part of the series of études (or studies) that Glass began composing in the 1990s. Likened by some listeners to Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions, Glass’s études are succinct and personal compositions, which he has created to expand and challenge his piano technique and to provide new music for his solo piano concerts.
The program will also include other music written for solo piano, as well as a number of arrangements of works for organ or instrumental ensembles. In addition to the commissioned work, the program will include six other Etudes (nos. 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 1994-1999), Mad Rush (1980), Metamorphoses (nos. 2, 3, 4, 1989), Dreaming Awake (2006) and Wichita Vortex Sutra (1990). The program selection for the performance is subject to change.
The Philip Glass Ensemble appeared in Texas for the first time in October 1973. Presented by Rice University’s Institute for the Arts (directed and funded by Dominique and John de Menil) and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, the program was called “4 Evenings of Live/Electric Music.” His work has also been presented in Houston by Texas Gallery, Society for the Performing Arts, and Houston Grand Opera.
The Menil Collection has marked its silver anniversary with celebrations throughout autumn 2012, including events for every level of the museum’s widespread community, from international supporters to residents of the institution’s “neighborhood of art.” Anniversary celebrations in September and October included a black-tie concert by legendary musician Yo-Yo Ma; an outdoor 25th Birthday Party with marching bands and a family scavenger hunt; and “Making a Museum,” a conversation between Calvin Tomkins, the distinguished veteran art writer for The New Yorker magazine, and Menil Director Josef Helfenstein. The gala weekend’s events, leading up to the Philip Glass concert, will include a reading organized by acclaimed poet Sasha West; a Menil Contemporaries night, Bleu Electrique; and Celebration in Blue, the third Menil gala since the museum opened in 1987.
More information on all Menil anniversary events can be found online at www.menil.org.
About Philip Glass
For more than five decades, Glass continues to be at the forefront of contemporary music and art. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts, and the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Several new works have been unveiled, including Book of Longing, a collaboration with Leonard Cohen (2007, Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity) and Appomattox (2007, San Francisco Opera), an opera about the end of the Civil War. Most recently Glass has celebrated his 75th anniversary season with a number of premieres and performances including his curation of the inaugural Days & Nights Festival in Carmel, CA, the world premiere of his Symphony No. 9, the return of the touring production of Einstein on the Beach and much more. Glass is set to premiere a new opera about the death of Walt Disney, The Perfect American, in January 2013.
About The Menil Collection
Considered one of the most important privately assembled collections of the twentieth century, the Menil Collection opened officially on June 4, 1987, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Menil’s holdings, ranging from the prehistoric to art of the present day, are housed in a modern landmark designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano. In the quarter-century since it opened to the public, the Menil has established an international reputation for presenting acclaimed exhibitions and producing many highly respected scholarly publications; pioneering partnerships with other cultural and education institutions across Houston, Texas and the United States; and conducting groundbreaking research into the conservation of modern and contemporary art. The Menil charges no admission fees.