The most famous, absurd anecdote about Philip Glass, the subject of our annual Icon Issue this year, is that around the time Einstein on the Beach was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976, he was driving a cab. This was as pragmatic as it was ridiculous; performing and composing music didn’t earn him enough money to pay his ensemble. Call it genius, stubborn or mad, but for the past 75 years Glass has done precisely what he wants. Coming up out of the New York avant-garde art scene in the ’70s, he has maintained an ethos of the anti-establishment and a love for the inclusive spirit of a “happening.” The venues and audiences surrounding him have certainly grown in number, but for Glass, it seems, there has never really been a difference between the squeaky floorboards of a rundown loft and the hallowed stage of the Met. His sound is iconic because it’s been built upon and refined and pushed and abandoned, but at its core, it’s doggedly elemental. This is what remains so enduring and universally appealing about his work: it’s minimalism expressed maximally. It’s simplicity rendered complex. It’s 75 years of one plus one—the man and his music—and it’s what makes him an icon. In our issue, we also tried to explore what it means to make avant-garde music today. We profiled six new boundary-pushing Gen F artists, spoke to a young classical composer, five taste-making curators and Black Dice, masters of re-invention. One of our favorite young photographers, Sandy Kim, shot the fashion story in her own, cramped, Chinatown NYC apartment. FADER #79 hits stands soon, on May 15th or before. But you don’t have to wait till then to read our oral history of Glass’ life and Jace Clayton’s interview with him. Links to those stories and more are below.
* New Music: An Interview with Philip Glass
* Work in Progress: An Oral History of Philip Glass
* Striking a Chord: Eight New Musicians Look at the Influence of Philip Glass
* Theory of Relativity: Director Robert Wilson Revisits Einstein on the Beach
* Photos from Five Philip Glass Performances Around the Globe
* Free Space: Chinatown NYC