Philip Glass is among the most innovative and influential composers of the 20th century. Postmodern music’s most celebrated and high-profile proponent, his myriad orchestral works, operas, film scores and dance pieces proved essential to the development of ambient and new age sounds, and his fusions of Western and world music were among the earliest and most successful global experiments of their kind. Educated at Julliard, and a student of Nadia Boulanger, Glass’ admitted artistic breakthrough came while working with Ravi Shankar on transcribing Indian music; the experience inspired him to begin structuring music by rhythmic phrases instead of by notation, forcing him to reject the 12-tone idiom of purist classical composition as well as traditonal elements including harmony, melody and tempo. Glass’ growing fascination with non-Western musics inspired him to hitchhike across North Africa and India, finally returning to New York in 1967. Glass rose to international fame with his 1976 “portrait opera” Einstein on the Beach, a collaboration with scenarist Robert Wilson. An early masterpiece close to five hours in length, it toured Europe and was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House; while it marked Glass’ return to classical Western harmonic elements, its dramatic rhythmic and melodic shifts remained the work’s most startling feature. In addition to his theatrical productions, Glass is widely known for his film scores and recordings with David Byrne, Suzanne Vega, Paul Simon and Laurie Anderson.