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  • BRADLEY HOROWITZ: Hello, and welcome

  • to this Talks at Google event.

  • My name is Bradley Horowitz.

  • I'm Vice President of Streams, Photos, and Sharing

  • here at Google.

  • It's my pleasure to welcome you all for this very

  • special afternoon together.

  • How many of you got to attend yesterday's event?

  • Oh, good.

  • It looks like about half.

  • We had a tremendous amount of fun.

  • We had four world-class musicians

  • sitting up here talking, jamming,

  • talking about their craft, laughing.

  • I laughed.

  • I cried.

  • It was beautiful.

  • And more today.

  • Today we're going to have a conversation

  • between two old friends, Arturo Bejar Philip Glass.

  • And Arturo I've known for quite a long time.

  • He's a bit of a Silicon Valley institution.

  • And in fact, yesterday I learned that it was Steve Wozniak who

  • actually brought Arturo from Mexico to Silicon

  • Valley for the first time.

  • He later went on to found a team called the Paranoids at Yahoo,

  • which was the first of its kind, really,

  • in the Valley that really focused on issues of spam

  • and abuse, and he carried forward that work

  • to Facebook, where he was at for many years,

  • building the product infrastructure team there

  • and then working on issues of compassion

  • and bullying and making that a safe and comfortable place

  • for all of its users.

  • He's since moved on from Facebook

  • and is now focusing on being a father and a photographer,

  • and one of the subjects of his photography

  • is, in fact, Philip Glass.

  • Philip Glass is a world renowned composer and pianist

  • whose work spans generations.

  • He has composed over the last 25 years more than 20 operas,

  • 8 symphonies, two piano concertos,

  • and numerous soundtracks to films

  • and all the while maintains his extensive solo creations

  • on piano and organ.

  • He grew up in Baltimore, studied at Juilliard,

  • moved to Europe, where he trained with Nadia Boulanger

  • and closely worked with sitar composer Ravi Shankar.

  • When he returned to the States in the 60s,

  • he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble

  • and still performs with that group to date.

  • At almost 80, he's collaborated with folks from Paul Simon

  • to Yo-Yo Ma and presents and performs solo keyboard concerts

  • around the world.

  • In 2011, he founded the Philip Glass Center,

  • a home for artists, scientists, and conservationists

  • to collaborate and produce a culture of renewal

  • for our time.

  • So I want to invite these two friends up here

  • to have a conversation and maybe even a bit of performance.

  • Philip, Arturo, welcome.

  • ARTURO BEJAR: Thank you.

  • PHILIP GLASS: Thank you, Bradley.

  • Thank you.

  • ARTURO BEJAR: Thank you so much.

  • So I wanted to start, maybe, a little bit

  • seeing how I ended up here next to you.

  • When I was in college, the weirdest thing I had ever heard

  • came on the radio.

  • It was "Knee Play Number 5."

  • And I couldn't leave there.

  • I needed to go to school, and I couldn't

  • leave to go to school because I had to listen to it.

  • And then I listened to "Einstein"

  • for God knows how many times.

  • And fast-forward 20 something years.

  • And I mean, there is a little place called Carmel Valley

  • that's near Carmel-by-the-Sea, and I go into the video store,

  • and there's a flyer there that says,

  • Philip Glass presents the Days and Nights Festival.

  • And I pick it up, and I'm like, well,

  • it can't be that Philip Glass.

  • Is there another Philip Glass that's doing this?

  • And I went to the first festival,

  • and I sat down to watch this dance piece,

  • and right behind me, he was sitting there.

  • And during the break, I went up and said hello,

  • and he was very kind with attention and conversation.

  • And ever since then, I have been photographing for the festival,

  • and in the process of doing that,

  • I have seen a collaboration that is extraordinary

  • because it spans from young people-- like, from 20 to 80--

  • from Africa to Japan, across cultures, across disciplines.

  • And being able to be a part of that has been an amazing gift.

  • And so what we'll hope to talk about today

  • is a lot about that process and collaboration.

  • And I wanted to start off by asking you about your journey,

  • how you ended up in Big Sur.

  • PHILIP GLASS: I was just thinking about that.

  • The festival we have at the-- it's

  • the last week of September, Big Sur this year,

  • at the Henry Miller Library.

  • It seems to be-- it was a destination which--

  • I didn't know what it was, but it became that.

  • When I was just beginning writing music-- and then

  • shortly after that I went study at Juilliard--

  • I would spend my time practicing the piano

  • and working like everybody else, and I felt so

  • cut off from everybody because that's all we did.

  • And not just me.

  • Everybody did that.

  • And I thought, well, if this is going to be my life,

  • to be this isolated, this is not going to happen for me.

  • So I began immediately-- I was 19

  • at the time-- I began working with dancers

  • who were the same age as me.

  • And that's always a good idea for anybody

  • who wants to know, where do you start?

  • You start with people your age, and with luck, they

  • stick around for a while.

  • And I began working with theater companies, with dancers,

  • and I began immediately-- I wanted

  • to get out of the practice room, and I also

  • wanted to be able to perform.

  • And I found that dancers always knew the music.

  • Theaters often needed music.

  • And so I didn't have to create a concert

  • career at the beginning.

  • I just started playing music with other people,

  • and that just continued.

  • And then the other thing that was really interesting

  • was I was concerned very much that the music that I

  • was doing-- I guess you could say

  • it was modernistic music of a certain kind.

  • But I felt that I wanted to see, how does that

  • fit into the world that I live in, into the everyday world?

  • And I began to think of all of the social issues,

  • political issues, and by the time I was in my 30s,

  • I was writing operas about people

  • who changed the world through their ideas,

  • like a opera about Gandhi, an opera about Einstein.

  • I began using music and theater music particularly

  • as a way of addressing the issues of life,

  • of what we are living.

  • I didn't really want an abstract music, and though in many ways

  • you can hear it as abstract, music has that quality.

  • It always has the quality of-- it

  • is emotional and abstract at the same time.

  • So we'll always have that.

  • But I wanted to connect the music with the power of ideas.

  • So I got involved with scientists.

  • The other thing when I was a kid-- so I was born in '37.

  • So by 1945, '46 people began knowing who Einstein

  • was because of the atomic bomb.

  • But suddenly, this scientist became-- he was actually

  • our first science superstar.

  • Everybody knew who Einstein was.

  • And what we used to say in that time

  • was that everyone knew who Einstein

  • was but no one understood the theory of relativity.

  • They said six people in the world understood it,

  • which is-- I don't think that was an exaggeration.

  • Well, actually, I think there are many more people who

  • know it, but that was the idea.

  • But I got very interested in scientists,

  • and I began to see-- before I was at Juilliard,

  • I was at the University of Chicago,

  • and I was studying mathematics and physics,

  • and I wasn't particularly good at it.

  • I loved it, but I realized that I was never

  • going to be very good at that.

  • What I could do-- I was writing music.

  • I knew that it was going to be music.

  • I became very interested in scientists

  • and environmentalists and anybody

  • who was connected to the living, organic world that we live in,

  • and in a funny way, I became the scientist composer.