Koyaanisqatsi Live — Film by Godfrey Reggio, Music by Philip Glass


WHEN October 5, 2023
7:30 PM WHERE The Red Theater, The Arts Center WHO The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi Open to the Public

Watch Godfrey Reggio’s groundbreaking film Koyaanisqatsi, set to a score by Philip Glass, performed live by the Philip Glass Ensemble, in a hypnotic exploration of nature, urbanization, and a world out of balance.

Koyaanisqatsi marked Philip Glass’ first major film success. The film, directed by Godfrey Reggio, and its score, are considered to be one of the most influential combinations of music and cinema in the past century. Koyaanisqatsi features a collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity, and the relationship between them, painting an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds — urban life and technology versus the environment.

The film will be screened with its musical score performed live by the Philip Glass Ensemble. Music critic Tim Page describes “The Grid”, the longest section of the music: “It begins simply enough, in a rather old-fashioned manner, the brass puttering along with near-Elgarian pomp. A few minutes on, however, one of Glass’s trademark bright, rapid arpeggiated passages for keyboard and woodwinds cuts fiercely into the action, and the music is transformed. For the rest of its twenty-one minutes and twenty-three seconds, The Grid might as well have been titled The Dervish, as it whirls, furiously and exhaustively, through hundreds of reiterations, all varied just enough to sustain the listener’s interest. Try playing this movement on a long drive someday and you will soon discover the true meaning of “highway hypnosis.”

NYU Abu Dhabi currently chairs the Universities Climate Network, which comprises UAE-based universities and higher education institutions to facilitate dialogues, workshops, public events, policy briefs, and youth participation in the lead up to and beyond COP28. Presented in support of COP28.

Presented as part of the lead-up to COP28

The Philip Glass Ensemble is the authoritative performer of its repertoire. By special arrangement with Philip Glass and Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. Please note that Philip Glass will not be performing as part of this concert.

  • Michael Riesman, Music director, keyboard, The Philip Glass Ensembl
  • Lisa Bielawa, Voice, keyboard, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Dan Bora, Sound, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Peter Hess, Alto and tenor saxophone, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Ryan Kelly, Onstage sound, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Mick Rossi, Keyboard, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Sam Sadigursky, Soprano saxophone, flute, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Andrew Sterman, Flute, piccolo, soprano saxophone, The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Nelson Padgett, Keyboards, Guest artist
  • Peter Stewart, Keyboards, voice, Guest artist

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