Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American music composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public (along with precursors such as Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein).
Although his music is often, though controversially, described as minimalist, for his later work he distances himself from this label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures." Although his early mature music shares much with what is normally called 'minimalist', he has evolved stylistically. Currently, he describes himself as a "Classicist", pointing out that he is trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied such composers as Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Nadia Boulanger.
Glass is a prolific composer: he has written works for his own musical group which he founded, the Philip Glass Ensemble (with which he still performs on keyboards), as well as operas, musical theatre works, nine symphonies, ten concertos, solo works, chamber music including string quartets and instrumental sonatas, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.
Glass counts many artists among his friends and collaborators, including visual artists (Richard Serra, Chuck Close), writers (Doris Lessing, David Henry Hwang, Allen Ginsberg), film and theatre directors (including Errol Morris, Robert Wilson, JoAnne Akalaitis, Godfrey Reggio, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Hampton, Bernard Rose, and many others), choreographers (Lucinda Childs, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp), and musicians and composers (Ravi Shankar, David Byrne, the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, Foday Musa Suso, Laurie Anderson, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Simon, Joan LaBarbara, Arthur Russell, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roberto Carnevale, Patti Smith, Aphex Twin, Lisa Bielawa, John Moran, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly). Among recent collaborators are Glass's fellow New Yorker Woody Allen, Stephen T. Colbert, and poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen.