Philip Glass to discuss work, perform at Emory

Creativity Conversation with Philip Glass

2:30-3:45 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25. Free. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Emerson Concert Hall, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta.

Paul Schrader’s “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” Music by Philip Glass

Philip Glass will introduce the film and its score, which is notable as his first composition for electric guitar.

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25. Free. White Hall 205, 301 Dowman Drive, Atlanta.

Philip Glass, perhaps America's best-known living classical composer, will return to Emory University's Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts for a sold-out show Sept. 27.

Emory is taking names for a waiting list in case tickets become available.

Schwartz was the venue four years ago for a performance of “Akhnaten,” one of Glass’ striking early opera works, a joint effort with the Atlanta Opera. This time around, he’ll perform his own works on piano, joined by Tim Fain, a fast-rising young violinist.

Though Glass dislikes the word “minimalism,” preferring “music with repetitive structures,” the term has been widely applied to his work, which spans almost half a century. As he put it, he likes to “slow down the rate of change” in the music.

Glass is known for abstract operas such as his iconic “Einstein on the Beach,” as well as for movie scores and a multitude of concert works. Atlanta composer Richard Prior, who heads the opera program at Emory, described Glass’ style as “a uniquely American and immediately recognizable musical language that functions across a broad spectrum of popular music, film, concert and opera stages.”

The concert will open with Glass performing “Mad Rush,” a solo piano work originally written for the organ. Up next will be “Partita for Solo Violin in Seven Movements,” performed by Fain, for whom it was composed after he performed in a tour of Glass’ “The Book of Longing,” a 2007 song cycle.

The program will feature “Music From ‘The Screens,’ ” Glass’s score for a 1989 production by Joanne Akalaitis of the final work of French playwright Jean Genet, written in collaboration with Gambian musician Fuday Musa Suso. Frequently performed with various instruments and partners, it has become a Glass favorite, and he’ll be joined by Fain on violin.

Another Glass classic is “Hydrogen Jukebox,” a chamber opera setting of poetry by Allen Ginsberg. The opera was first performed in 1990 at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. This concert will feature “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” a “Jukebox” excerpt that deals with the anti-war sentiments of the 1960s.

The concert will close with “Pedulum,” commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union for its 40th anniversary. Originally written for a trio, it will be performed here by Glass and Fain.

The performance is part of a three-day residency, an annual event that brings major artists to Emory as part of the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series.

Things kick off with a discussion between Glass and Prior regarding composition and creativity at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Schwartz Center. That evening will feature a screening of Paul Schrader’s 1985 film “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters” scored by Glass, his first composition for electric guitar. Glass will introduce the film and attend the screening, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall (201 Dowman Drive). Both of these events are open to the public and free.

The Schwartz Center is located at 1700 N. Decatur Road on the Emory Campus. Tickets for the Sept. 27 concert are $65. Details can be found at or by phone at 404-727-5050.