Oasis of tranquility

Composer Philip Glass changed the landscape of American music. As a founder of minimalism, Glass came up with a new way to make music and, with it, brought a new audience to the concert halls. Tuesday is Glass’ 75th birthday, and the music world is celebrating in a big way with performances and festivals around the globe — including the premiere of Glass’ latest work at Carnegie Hall.

Even on a frigid Saturday in January, the street outside Glass’ East Village home crackles with traffic and pedestrians. Inside his brick townhouse, where he composes, Glass says he has created what he calls an “oasis of tranquility.”

“Notice how quiet it is here? Those are very expensive windows. I have them all over the house,” Glass says. “And at one point I realized, look, it’s like — it’s like looking at a silent movie. You can’t hear the cars.”

He can’t hear the people passing by his windows on the street, but Glass says he has always been interested in what they’re listening to.

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