Free ‘Glass Festival’ at NYU Skirball Honors Influential Composer

Glass Festival poster outlining the lineup of events identified in the text

The NYU Orchestras and Contemporary Music Ensemble present a weekend of free concerts to honor contemporary composer Philip Glass, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year. The concerts will take place at NYU Skirball from November 17-19, 2017.

Glass – who the Chicago Tribune calls “perhaps the best-known, most successful, most widely imitated composer of classical music today” – is a prolific composer of operas, concertos, symphonies, and more. Often labeled a “minimalist,” Glass refers to himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” He has collaborated with a range of artists, including Allen Ginsberg, Paul Simon, and Ravi Shankar, and has composed the scores for many films, including The Truman Show, The Hours, and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun.

The November 17 and 18 concerts by NYU’s two premier orchestra ensembles will feature innovative programs uniting 20th century compositions by Glass, David Byrne, and Aaron Copland, among others. The November 17 concert concludes with Glass’s Symphony No. 1, “Low,” composed in 1992 and based on the David Bowie album of the same name.

The third and final event in the series will feature Glass’s opera, The Fall of the House of Usher, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic short story. NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble will play the opera as the 1928 silent film inspired by Poe’s short story is shown. The film, directed by French avant-garde visionary Jean Epstein and one of the most highly acclaimed film adaptations of Poe, tells the dark tale of a sister’s illness and disputed death, a brother’s mourning, and the terror that ensues.

The full program for the three-day festival is as follows:

NYUO² - Friday, November 17 at 8 pm
Jonathan Haas, Conductor
Kaeja Cox, Soprano
Matt Marks, Tenor
David Byrne: The Forest
Philip Glass: Symphony No. 1, “Low”

NYUO¹ - Saturday, November 18 at 8 pm
Eduardo Leandro, Conductor
Zoe Miller, Violin, NYU Steinhardt String Concerto Competition Winner
Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14
Philip Glass: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 28

NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble - Sunday, November 19 at 3 pm
Jonathan Haas, Director/Conductor
Meg Bussert, Narrator
Featuring Stanley Figaro, Marissa Hernandez, Ben Salters, Peter Tinaglia, and Geddy Warner
Philip Glass: The Fall of the House of Usher
Accompanying film: The Fall of the House of Usher (released 1928 and newly mastered 2001), directed by Jean Epstein

The Glass Festival is free and open to the public. No advanced registration is required; tickets will be distributed at NYU Skirball, located at 566 Laguardia Place, on the day of the event starting two hours prior to each concert.

For more information about NYU Orchestra performances, contact

About NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, established in 1925, instructs over 1,600 students majoring in music and performing arts programs. Music and Performing Arts Professions serves as NYU’s “school” of music and is a major research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, songwriting, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama).

Press Contact

Rachel Harrison
Rachel Harrison
(212) 998-6797