Philip Glass Plays His Classic 'Music with Changing Parts'

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Philip Glass will be performing his monumental ‘Music with Changing Parts‘ at Davies Hall Feb. 20  (Photo: Courtesy of SF Performances)

Music with Changing Parts by Philip Glass is, as my co-host Cal Performances Director Matias Tarnopolsky says, one of the signposts of early minimalism. Along with Terry Riley's In C and Steve Reich's Drumming, Music with Changing Parts helped lay the foundation of the movement.

Now 80 years old, Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble will give the work a rare live performance in San Francisco. Glass is still a vigorous performer, and he'll have help with other pieces from the San Francisco Girls Chorus and musicians from the SF Conservatory of Music.

Music with Changing Parts is hypnotic in its repetitions as it builds and fades in intensity for more than an hour. It may not be for everyone -- my wife kept asking me to turn it off -- but Matias recalls how when Cal Performances staged Einstein at the Beach a few years ago, he finished the five-hour opera wanting nothing but more Glass.

San Francisco Performances is presenting two concerts devoted to Glass's music: first, the Kronos Quartet and Timo Andres discuss and play the music on Feb. 2 at Herbst Theater. Then Glass and his ensemble and friends are at Davies Hall Feb. 20. For tickets and other information on Glass's performance, go here.