Back to RWCMD main site

Student Composers Meet Philip Glass

16 October 2014

Filed Under:


Composition students recently got a unique insight into composing for opera, when they met one of today’s most influential music makers. The students met Philip Glass as he prepared for the premiere of his latest work at the Royal Opera House.

The Trial – based on the Kafka novel – is a collaboration between the composer and Music Theatre Wales. It premiered at the Royal Opera House and is now touring the UK.

Final year composer Amy Willock tells us about her experience of meeting the one of the world’s most popular living composers.

The Trial artwork“We were honoured that Philip Glass chose to spend an hour of his busy evening talking to us and answering our questions about writing opera. He spoke encouragingly, and we learned a huge amount about the process of making and presenting new opera, from the initial idea-forming and writing stages, to the practical considerations of staging and working with librettists, singers, directors and musicians.

“In that hour-long discussion, we were also joined by the two directors of Music Theatre Wales, and it was interesting to hear the advice and anecdotes that all three of them offered about their current and past collaborations.

“We also went to a special pre-show talk about The Trial at the Royal Opera House, where we heard extracts of the work and interviews with its creators. We all returned to college feeling enriched by the experience, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the full opera when it comes to the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff.”

Composition students are also currently working with Music Theatre Wales on the latest Make an Aria project, where they work with a writer and designer to create an aria for an imagined opera. One of the previous participants – Spyros Syrmos – got a four-star review from The Guardian for his work The Blank Canvas, which was developed during the project in 2013.