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  • Writer's pictureThomas Lawrence Toscano

Glass is Coming...

During the spring of 2005 Philip Glass was on tour of various European Cities including Catania. It coincided with my residence at the Istituto Musicale Vicenzo Bellini in that wonderful city. I came up with the idea of arranging Philip's String Quartet No 2, Company, for Carmelo Dell'Aqua's wonderful clarinet ensemble. Philip was going to be in town and he loved the idea of being present at a dress rehearsal at the conservatory.

A lot of work was put into the transcription and all the editing and printing turned out quite a respectable set of score and parts. They were handed over to Carmelo, who in turn distributed them to the performers and the day finally came when Philip and I arrived in the hall which faces Via Etnea the central road which leads from the center of Catania close to the sea and rises up until it reaches the foothills of Etna, the towering volcano. This road, was in fact, created after the devastating earthquake in 1693 and was instrumental in facilitating the restoration of the city.

Needless to say, Philip and I had a wonderful time together. The members of Calamus, Riccardo Insolia, professor of music and my good friend along with Carmelo were all visibly captured by Philip, the music and the fun loving very productive rehearsal which preceded the first performance of this work. Everyone was extremely attentive and enthusiastic every step of the way and the results were just wonderful. Luckily for all of us, we also scheduled a performance at one of the Vizzini performances later on that spring where we were thrilled to perform the work again within the Chiesa Madre to an absolutely packed house.

This was, of course, only one of the many times that Philip has generously worked with young performers and as is always the case our collaboration was very successful. I have been very fortunate to have created many projects together with Philip, worked as an editor on his opera "Il Corvo Branco" written in Portuguese, and let us not forget the collaboration, in 1991, when I brought his opera "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" to Brazil. It was, in fact, the first time that a Philip Glass opera had been brought to Latin or South America.

Many of our projects have manifested in the spring and last year, 2018, was no exception. Philip and I appeared together at Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington, Vermont at a fund raiser event, on March 24th, entitled "A Night With Philip Glass". It was a smash hit, once again, filled with a mixture of laughter and quite serious topics all interspersed with Philip performing various works of his on the piano. The picture above was taken about an hour before Philip and I stepped on stage while our dear friend Stu Deutsch, sat off stage recording it all. Stu is one of the movie industry's most accomplished sound experts.

The results of all of this are about to be pre-released by me during the next few weeks. I will be putting the finishing touches on a very long process of editing the more than 2 hours of original source material. It's been a true labor of love. It looks as if it will amount to more or less 90 minutes long. For those of you who are interested in obtaining a copy - just send me an email to and I will put you on the list. I look forward to sharing this wonderful tape of a truly fantastic evening with you all. The cost for this initial pre-release will be $10.00 plus any additional shipping or handling.

It truly was a great deal of fun and a lot of hard work. As you can see in the picture above, both Philip and I were a bit exhausted as we came to the end of our post appearance pizza celebration!!!

In closing I'd like to say that part of the joy for me of writing this blog is the process of reliving the enormously fortunate experiences I've had with so many wonderfully generous friends. The anecdotes and stories so very often come to a simple conclusion. We can create such extraordinary times for ourselves by simply listening within and following through with the dream!

Be well, and thank you all for joining me here today. Thomas

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