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:: By Ruth E. Kott

:: Photography by Scott Hicks

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Peer Review ::

On screen

Magnifying Glass

Composer Philip Glass, AB’56, doesn’t particularly care if people don’t like his music. “There’s a lot of music in the world. You don’t have to listen to mine. … You have my blessings; go on, listen to something else,” he suggests in Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts, a 2007 documentary by filmmaker Scott Hicks. To commemorate Glass’s 70th birthday in January 2007, Hicks spent 18 months following the Golden Globe–winning composer with little more than a high-definition video camera and a minimal budget. Hicks recorded Glass’s daily life; his family, friends, and colleagues; and his work process—“This is very typical top of the piano,” says Glass’s wife Molly, motioning toward a grand piano covered in notebooks and piles of half-finished sheet music.

Hicks—whose resume includes the Academy Award–nominated Shine (1996) and No Reservations (2007), which features music by Glass—says the film’s title is a “tongue-in-cheek tribute to [Glass’s] seminal work Music in Twelve Parts” (1974). In the last 25 years Glass has composed 20 operas and eight symphonies, among dozens of other works, and movie scores for Oscar-winning directors Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Errol Morris.

Throughout the summer and fall, the two-hour Glass plays nationally at art centers and independent-film houses, as well as at international festivals such as Poland’s Era New Horizons (July 17–27) and Colombia’s Bogotá Film Festival (October 1–9).