A Pop Quiz on Philip Glass

Everything About 'Einstein on the Beach' Composer

Glass Works: Kate Moran, Helga Davis and Charles Williams perform in the revival of Philip Glass’s seminal 1976 opera, ‘Einstein on the Beach.’
Lucie Jansch
Glass Works: Kate Moran, Helga Davis and Charles Williams perform in the revival of Philip Glass’s seminal 1976 opera, ‘Einstein on the Beach.’

By Eileen Reynolds

Published September 18, 2012, issue of September 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

IV. PERSONAL LIFE

True or false: Philip Glass is a Jew-Bu (Jewish Buddhist).

A trick question, really — but probably false, given his distaste for labels. Glass was born to Jews, and these days he studies with a Qigong teacher and Taoist spiritual adviser, a Toltec shaman and a Tibetan Buddhist lama. He has met the Dalai Lama on several occasions, and his fifth symphony, “Requiem, Bardo,” borrows sacred texts from Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Zuni, Tibetan and Muslim sources, among others. The unsuspecting journalist who asks Glass about his Buddhist practice is sure to be met with the composer’s insistence that he doesn’t adhere to any one particular faith. “You might say I’m a Taoist, I’m a Hindu, I’m Jewish, I’m Christian,” he told one reporter. In another interview, he remarked, “No particular culture seems to have a copyright on profound ideas about the world.”

Philip Glass hates which of the following?

(A) clutter

(B) overhead lighting

(C) miniature figurines of bugs and frogs playing instruments

Answer: (B). His East Village townhouse is filled with lamps. He collects (C), according to his fourth wife, Holly Critchlow, and has been known to amass a certain amount of (A), especially on the top of his piano, when he’s working on a big piece.

Where is Glass’s summer home?

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. He bought it with his first wife, JoAnn Akalaitis. (Akalaitis, who later went on to serve as artistic director of The Public Theater, named her first experimental theater troupe Mabou Mines, after a village near the house.) Today the place consists of a main house, a farmhouse and a hermitage, where Glass writes. There are also 11 little cabins, where friends and family stay. Visit, and you’re likely to find, say, Dennis Russell Davies, the conductor responsible for many of Glass’s orchestral commissions, lounging in a hammock.

Who is Glass’s most famous relative?

Either Ira Glass, whose dad is his first cousin, or Al Jolson, who was Glass’s father’s uncle. Another uncle played drums for the Marx Brothers.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.