Philip Morris Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American music composer. He is considered 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, he distances himself from this label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures." Although his early, mature music is minimalist, he has evolved stylistically. Currently, he describes himself as a "Classicist", pointing out that he is trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang 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 (for which he still performs on keyboards), as well as operas, musical theatre works, eight symphonies, eight concertos, solo works, string quartets, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.
Glass counts many visual artists, writers, musicians, and directors among his friends, including Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Doris Lessing, Allen Ginsberg, Errol Morris, Robert Wilson, JoAnne Akalaitis, John Moran, Godfrey Reggio, Ravi Shankar, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Simon, David Byrne, Arthur Russell, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roberto Carnevale, Patti Smith, the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, and electronic musician Aphex Twin, all of whom have collaborated with him. Among recent collaborators are Glass's fellow New Yorker Woody Allen, and poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen.
Glass describes himself as "a Jewish-Taoist-Hindu-Toltec-Buddhist", and he is a supporter of the Tibetan cause. In 1987 he co-founded the Tibet House with Columbia University professor Robert Thurman and the actor Richard Gere.
Glass has four children and one granddaughter. Juliet (b. 1968) and Zachary (b. 1971) are children from his first marriage, to theater director JoAnne Akalaitis (m. 1965, div. 1980). Granddaughter Zuri (b.1989) is the child of Zachary. Marlowe and Cameron are Glass's children with his fourth wife, Holly Critchlow (separated). This relationship followed after his third wife, the artist Candy Jernigan, died of liver cancer in 1991 aged 39. Since 2005, he has been romantically involved with cellist Wendy Sutter (2005-present). Glass lives in New York and in Nova Scotia.
Glass is the first cousin once removed of Ira Glass, host of the nationally syndicated radio show This American Life. Philip Glass's father is Ira Glass's great uncle