Rapturous in its ability to depict the creative process, Words Without Music allows readers to experience that sublime moment of creative fusion when life merges with art. Biography lovers will be inspired by the story of a precocious Baltimore boy, the son of a music-shop owner, who entered college at age fifteen, before traveling to Paris to study under the legendary Nadia Boulanger; Glass devotees will be fascinated by the stories behind Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, among so many other works.
Whether recalling his experiences working at Bethlehem Steel, traveling in India, driving a cab in 1970s New York, or his professional collaborations with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Robert Wilson, Doris Lessing, and Martin Scorsese, Words Without Music affirms the power of music to change the world.
Martin Scorsese on Words Without Music:
‘I came to Philip Glass’s music very simply, without any critical prodding or guidance. I listened and I was transfixed. The music was dynamic and colorful and mysterious all at once, and it put me in mind of the Zen exercise of sitting before a blank wall and contemplating the question, “What is this?” It’s music that seems to go beyond music. It doesn’t just stay with you, it infuses and energizes and haunts you, and carries a sense of being alive, a perception of existence itself, the rhythm of living this life. Philip’s music has come to mean more and more to me as the years have gone by.
I was excited to work with Philip on Kundun, and he exceeded my wildest expectations by giving us a score that was genuinely transcendent. He’s exceeded my expectations again with this rich and beautifully written memoir. Who knew that he was as good a writer as he is a composer?’