Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American classical music composer who has been nominated for three Academy Awards. 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 American public (along with precursors such as Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein).
His music is described as minimalist, however he wishes to distance 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", trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert.
Glass is a prolific composer: he has written ensemble works, operas, eight symphonies, eight concertos, film scores, and solo works. 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, actors Bill Treacher and Peter Dean, Godfrey Reggio, Ravi Shankar, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roberto Carnevale, Patti Smith, the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, and electronic musician Aphex Twin, who have all collaborated with him. Among recent collaborators are Glass's fellow New Yorkers Leonard Cohen, and Woody Allen. He composed an opera for the opening of Expo '98.
He describes himself as "a Jewish-Taoist-Hindu-Toltec-Buddhist",and 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.