Philip Glass, noted composer, will give five exclusive performances of Book of Longing from February 25 to March 1, 2009 at Garrison Theater, Scripps Performing Arts Center. Book of Longing is an evening-length concert work composed for ensemble, singers, spoken word, and imagery and is based on the poetry and artwork of Leonard Cohen's recently published book of the same name. The performance in Claremont is significant because Cohen wrote many of the poems featured in Book of Longing at the Buddhist monastery on Mt. Baldy. Glass will perform on keyboard in these five performances, and the artwork of Cohen will be prominently incorporated into the set. These performances mark the concert's Southern California premier and are the only Southern California performances of this work.
Book of Longing is signature Cohenat once meditative, playful, erotic, and provocative. The diverse collection of poems falls loosely into the categories of ballads, love and confessional poems, spiritual meditations, and short and comic pieces that Glass has called "limericks." Glass' composition is the culmination of years of mutual admiration between two of the most celebrated artists of our time.
Glass conceived the concert as a collection of poetic songs from each of these loose categories to run as a continuous evening rather than a traditional song cycle. The music is performed by an ensemble of eight musicians including electronic keyboards (one played by Glass himself), flute/bass clarinet, hand percussion, violin, cello double bass, and oboe/English horn that are visible on stage throughout the evening. The music is directed by Glass' longtime musical director Michael Riesman.
Glass is perhaps best known for such operas as Akhnaten, Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and The Voyageall of which have been assimilated into the basic repertory in the world's foremost theaters and opera housesas well as numerous film scores (including those for The Hours, Cassandra's Dream, Mindwalk, Kundun, Hamburger Hill, and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time). He has also collaborated with a remarkably diverse roster of artists: Woody Allen, Allen Ginsberg, Doris Lessing, Yo-Yo Ma, Linda Ronstadt, Martin Scorsese, Ravi Shankar, and Paul Simon, to name but a few. Also the composer of eight symphonies, several string quartets, works for solo piano and organ, and concerti for piano, violin, timpani, saxophone quartet, and other instruments and combinations, Glass remains one of the most powerful, surprising, and influential composers of our time.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential songwriters of our time, Cohen is a Canadian born poet, novelist, and songwriter. In addition to his music, Cohen's collections of poetry, including Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), and Flowers for Hitler (1964), and his novels, including Beautiful Losers (1966), have brought him international recognition. His dual interests in music and literature have produced notable works, including the albums Various Positions (1984), I'm Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Dear Heather (2004), and Blue Alert (2006). His songs, including "Suzanne," Hallelujah," and "Bird on a Wire," have been covered by hundreds of artists including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and k.d. lang. In recognition of his remarkable work, Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He also is a Companion of the Order of Canada, that nation's highest civilian honor. In March 2008, Cohen was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Additional information about the composer and the performances is available at www.claremontmckenna.edu/gould. This event is sponsored by The Family of Benjamin Z Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. The Gould Center is one of 10 research institutes and focuses on understanding modern issues in the light of recurrent values provided by literature, the graphic arts, music, history, philosophy, religion, science and politics. Date & Time: February 25-March 1, 2009
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Location: Garrison Theatre, Scripps Performing Arts Center
231 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, California Ticket Information: Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. A limited number of discounted tickets are available to students of The Claremont Colleges. For information on how to obtain the discount code, please call x78558.