Philip Glass “The Complete 20 Piano Etudes”

Bold Tendencies / London, United Kingdom
September 2nd, 2023, 7.30pm

Maki Namekawa & James McVinnie : Piano

Maki Namekawa and James McVinnie join forces for a monumental complete presentation of Philip GlassPiano Etudes. Written between 1991 and 2012 the twenty solo pieces are a kind of future music, “little diagrams of where his head is at the time” (Nico Muhly), knitting together various musical and historical textures, techniques and atmospheres. In turn haunting and sentimental, this intimate and introspective sequence provides a glimpse into the emotional world of the iconic American composer – a sonic variation on the diaristic form. “If I’m to be remembered for anything,” Glass says, “it might be for the piano music, because people can play it.” The progression of the twenty pieces can be read as an autobiographical record illuminating his fundamental musical ideas and aesthetic sensibilities; at various points the music enters into conversation with composers who have left their mark on Glass, references ranging from the romantics, to jazz and the avant-garde.

James McVinnie is joined for this special occasion by distinguished Japanese pianist Maki Namekawa, a leading figure amongst today’s pianists, and closely associated with Philip Glass. In 2013, she performed the world premiere of the entire cycle of 20 Etudes at Perth International Arts Festival under the participation of Glass himself, and her recording of the work (the first) is widely celebrated. In 2019 – at the age of 82 – he wrote his first Piano Sonata specially for her.

Philip Glass : from „The Complete 20 Piano Etudes“ 
Collaboration with Chanon Judson (Urban Bush Woman Dance Company) 

Photo Credit : Andreas H. Bitesnich