Philip Glass was born in Baltimore on January 31, 1937. His father owned a music store so his music collection included a fair number of unsold records. he studied the flute as a child at Peabody Music Conservatory in Baltimore before moving on to the University of Chicago at the age of 15 to study Mathematics and Philosophy. He then moved on to Julliard where he learned to play the keyboard. He also started composing.
He eventually studied in Paris and in 1959 he won the BMI Student Composer Award. He worked with Ravi Shankar on the film score for Chappaqua. He traveled to India and became familiar with Buddism. It was at this time that led to the development of his distinctive style based on repetitive structures.
He formed an ensemble in New York City in the late 60's and started performing in Art Galleries. He also held jobs as a cab driver and had a moving company.
He has composed many film scores over the years and was nominated for three Academy Awards. His first Academy Award nomination was for Kundun in 1997, for The Hours in 2002, and Notes on a Scandal in 2006. In 1999 he won the Golden Globe Award for The Truman Show.
Most recenlty he composed the score for The Illusionist and Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream.