The World Music Education of Philip Glass

April 25, 2015 9:06 PM

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It was 1964 when the young Philip Glass found himself in Paris. He was on a Fulbright scholarship to study with the revered pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. It was a career move carefully planned. Glass wanted to be a composer and he knew Boulanger's rigorous lessons in traditional Western harmony and counterpoint would sharpen his skills. But a completely unplanned event in Paris led Glass to discover a very different kind of music — music that would influence his life and his compositions.

"The door to world music for me was opened by Ravi Shankar," Glass tells NPR's Arun Rath, who spoke with the composer about his new memoir, Words Without Music. In Paris, through a series of chance encounters, Glass became Shankar's assistant, learning to notate Indian music the sitar master was com...

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