Tao of Glass
Philip Glass & Phelim McDermott
‘Marvellously entertaining and deeply touching.'
A Perth Festival Commission
Composer Philip Glass and performer-director and Improbable founder Phelim McDermott have worked together on acclaimed opera productions around the world. Now they have joined forces for their most personal collaboration yet.
Tao of Glass takes ten brand-new pieces by Philip Glass and marries them to ten meditations on life, death and Taoist wisdom performed by McDermott with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers. The result is a warm, fun and utterly compelling fusion of music, theatre, puppetry and philosophical musing held together by a highly-personal monologue about the nature of creativity, memory and personal identity.
Part-concert, part-performance, Tao of Glass is a storytelling tapestry, soundtracked by Glass’s mesmerising music and infused with Improbable’s trademark theatricality.
ComposerPhilip GlassWriter & Co-DirectorPhelim McDermottCo-DirectorKirsty HousleyDesignerFly DavisLighting DesignerColin GrenfellSound DesignerGiles ThomasCollaboratorRagnar FreidankMusical DirectorChris VatalaroAssociate DirectorPeter ReltonPuppet Designer & Puppet MakerLyndie WrightDesign AssociateCamille EtchartSound AssociateSorcha SteelePuppeteersDavid Emmings, Janet Etuk, Rachel LeonardPerformerPhelim McDermottClarinetJack McNeillViolinRakhi SinghPianoKatherine TinkerPercussionChris Vatalaro
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. By 1974 he had created a large collection of music for the Philip Glass Ensemble, a period that culminated in the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach. Since Einstein, Glass' repertoire has grown to include music for opera, dance, theatre, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Recent works include an opera on Walt Disney, The Perfect American; Glass' memoir, Words Without Music, by Liveright Books; Symphony No.12, based on David Bowie's Lodger and music for King Lear on Broadway.
Glass received the US National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama in 2016 and the 41st Kennedy Center Honors in December 2018. He presents lectures, workshops and solo keyboard performances around the world.
Phelim McDermott is a founder member and co-artistic director of Improbable. He has won Olivier Awards for both Best Entertainment and Best New Opera, TMA Awards for Best Touring Production and Best Director, and a Critics Circle Best Design Award. He was awarded a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts fellowship and an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University.
Eligible for package discount
Contains coarse language, adult themes, smoke and haze effects
Discover more about the show and its creation in the event program. Download it here.
Post Show Q&A
Thu 20 Feb
Stay in your seats after the performance to hear from creators and artists in a Q&A session.
- Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Improbable, Perth Festival, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen and Carolina Performing Arts - University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in association with Naomi Milgrom AO. Produced by Manchester International Festival and Improbable.
- Tristram Kenton