Philip Glass on President Trump: ‘I don’t do idiots’

Philip Glass on President Trump: ‘I don’t do idiots’


norman lebrecht

July 22, 2017

The US composer made his dismissive comment in an interview with RAI. Watch here.

In an Austrian interview, he expresses appreciation for the Trump presidency: ‘It is wonderful: for the first time even children are getting politicised. Even my children, who used to be sunk in video games, now go to demonstrations and get involved politically. We should be grateful to Trump for having shaken us up.’



  • Sue says:

    There’s something terribly unedifying about a citizen of one country going abroad and rubbishing that country very publicly. Discretion is the better part of valour.

    • Steve P says:

      Welp, America is a global empire now – heck, we even had the worst foreign relations president of all time receive a Nobel Peace prize before taking office – so we gotta take the good (MAGA) with the bad (libs). Unlike those on the other side of the aisle, I don’t discriminate against anyone because of what they think, so I’ll still enjoy music played by overwhelmingly liberal musicians, including Glass.

      • Sue says:

        I don’t believe I was commenting on the music of Glass.

      • Robert Holmén says:

        ” we even had the worst foreign relations president of all time receive a Nobel Peace prize before taking office –”

        two obvious errors in your statement there.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Sue, I’m quite sure Mr. Glass would say the same things here in the U.S., as most of the rest of us would, given that we’re living through an unimaginable era of stolen democracy, epic corruption, and lies on a scale never seen before from any President, with an entire political party in effect participating. The difference is that no one here in the U.S. asked him.

      • Sue says:

        I don’t argue about him saying whatever he likes in his own country, but his rubbishing of the USA whilst abroad reminds me of Gore Vidal and the pernicious comments he made about his country of birth from the safety of Italy. Christopher Hitchens had much to say about these kinds of people and I’m entirely in agreement with him.

        • Scotty says:

          Glass isn’t “rubbishing” the USA. He is criticizing Trump. The President isn’t the country. He is, ideally, a servant of the country’s people. Not that Trump sees it that way.

        • AMetFan says:

          With the internet, there is no “abroad” any longer. As a citizen of two continents, I’ve witnessed that most people have legitimate concerns about Trump and they deserve to be voiced, regardless of where they reside or travel. Like it or not, we all will be affected.

        • James says:

          Vidal’s detractors were endlessly annoyed, enraged, maddened, unhinged by his
          usually being right, spot on in calling a spade a spade, spelling it out with wit,
          mockery and bored intolerance.
          You, Miss Sue, are, I believe, from Antarctica. Here in Germany certain of your
          compatriots are a delightful source of the goods on history, politics and society
          on and near the South Pole. May their tribe increase!

      • Figaro says:

        You’re sure of that? Then why hasn’t he? He’s had the time and the opportunity
        but obviously not the cojones. Why did he wait until he was on the other side of
        the world? Nasty spineless twit.

    • William Safford says:

      I agree. Trump should know better.

    • John says:

      They asked. He answered.

    • Anon says:

      Why should independent thinkers and artists care much about arbitrary national borders?
      A country is what it is. No reason to put it above your humanity, which is too often the fundament to most evil.
      People like you should reconsider their nationalized mindsets. It’s all arbitrary, the difference between you and another human outside your national borders is miniscule. Mostly only a piece of paper (birth certificate).

  • Cyril Blair says:

    “We should be grateful to Trump for having shaken us up.”

    Sorry but this is a VERY dangerous position to take, and can only be taken by someone who has no personal stake in the real consequences of a Trump administration. They could include abortions becoming illegal, millions losing healthcare, innocents being deported for running a stop sign.

    Would it be rational for Filipinos to be grateful to Duterte for “shaking them up?” For Turks to be grateful to Erdogan? For Venezuelans to be grateful to Maduro? For Jews to be grateful to….you know who?

    As Americans we are watching our democratic norms melt away – norms such as presidents not appointing their closest relatives to positions of power; not firing FBI directors because an investigation is getting too close to them; not asserting that they have the power to pardon anyone they want including relatives and themselves…etc. etc. etc. We get closer to tyranny every day and this is NOT something we should be grateful for, no matter how political angry or active it makes us.

    • John says:

      I’m afraid I took his response quite the opposite way.

    • William Safford says:

      I strongly suspect that Glass’s comment is of the “given lemons, make lemonade” ilk. Since we are currently stuck with Trump, at least until he resigns or is removed from office, at least some good can come of it. Civic activism is a virtue. If the Trump presidency awakens in America awareness of and action against the existential threat of the alt-right and its minions in this country, then good will come of it.

  • pooroperaman says:

    He does idiot music, though. Another arpeggio, anyone?

    • Olassus says:


      • Nick says:

        Ph. Glass? Is that MUSIC? I thought it is more of a Rubik’s cube – the longer it takes to figure it out, the less your IQ is. A lesser IQ counts for more REAL intelligence in this case.
        And his view on politics? Who cares? His view is MINIMALISTIC. Let him stick to his minimal stuff with minimal talent, minimal expression, minimal everything! In our day and age one does not need any more than MINIMAL! With minimal one can become the “most influential composer of our Time”. An what a TIME it is!!

  • Evan Knudsen says:

    I’ll take Trump over any of PG’s music

    • Nick says:

      Thank you ! Me too. In fact I will tolerate Trump better than 90% of what they call “music” now. But this happens to be a predominantly Libtard communist blog, so opposite opinions are not tolerated. Period.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Glass, Reich, Riley have hijacked the ’minimalism’ concept. Not ”a minimum of means” but ”a minimum of brains”. It’s the most elementary pop music in a ”classical” costume. If you want great minimalist music, listen to Morton Feldman’s or Arvo Pärt’s.

    As for Mr Glass’ political opinions, who cares?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Agreed with all of this. But I was surprised with G’s remark that he did not do idiots, given the nature of his music.

      • Jaypee says:

        And the dumbest comment belongs to… John Borstlap, despite heavy competition from Nick, our trumpanzee-in-residence.
        Congratulations, you made it again!!!

        • John Borstlap says:

          We had a good laugh about this one, and I always object to discussions getting too serious. My therapist says, less Boulez and more Riley esp. in C.


          • Nick says:

            Yeah, thank you John Bosrtlap. I had a laugh too!! Half a year, they still cannot get over their Great Loss! It was epic, that is true! See what happens at 9 months! May be they will produce something decent, on the second thought, highly unlikely – they abort all before they are born anyway ;-)))))

        • Nick says:

          Your comments remind me those of a chimp from the Reagan movie! So self-absorbed and righteous and proud of yourself you feel!! Stick to it, man. You’re full of it and you do not need anything else. Your life is dedicated to demoting anyone with different ideas.
          You are so full of it that it does not even make sense to argue with you simply because your intelligence is substituted by your intolerance. And that is only a Left only ‘virtue’ because arguments are not easy to come by, as minimalist and repetitious as Glass’ “musak”.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Very unpleasant comments. John Borstlap is entitled to his opinions (and to his humor), but even those who disagree (I mean, the honest ones) have to recognize that he has a solid basis in music to support his comments. Have Nick or Jaypee listened to any of his compositions?

      • Nick says:

        I fully agree: Mr. Borstlap is entitled to his humor and opinions, including political ones. It does not really matter what kind of composer or instrumentalist he is; some might like his music, some not – a matter of taste more than anything else. I am familiar with his music and I see nothing wrong with it. I would prefer late Beethoven Quartets, say Op. 131, 133, but this is my taste. At the very least, Borstlap’s music is much better than most of the ‘music’ that comes out today!! That is not what we discuss here: we discuss the complete intolerance of the vast majority on this blog towards the opinions of the others. (Most here are Liberals, Lefties, Commies – call them whatever you like). They are like chimps in a zoo, then I should not insult chimps. And of course, since, even after 9 months, they still cannot accept the simple truth: they LOST, and since there are not many ideas and not too much fantasy on the Left anyway, the “argument” comes to a few cliches: a nazi, a fascist, a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, a male chauvinist, a misogynist, you’re welcome to continue the very limited list they have. This is their vocabulary that reminds of the infamous character of Ilf & Petrov. Inability to think is well compensated with ability to hate and not tolerate. Of course, it is kinder garden, it is laughable, so Mr. Borstlap laughs. I respect that and salut him for his healthy attitude towards the “other side” – the very loud, uncivilized and vocal minority

        • John Borstlap says:

          I was so happy tio finally read something that I, as his PA, can wholeheartedly

          • John Borstlap says:

            Sorry about this, she gets out of hand nowadays, too much encouragement from reading this blog. I locked her up and maybe I’ll have to fire her, it’s the musical taste which I don’t approve of as well, but – good staff is rare nowadays and they all get the wrong education. As for Mr Nick, I’m puzzled what he could possibly mean by “the very loud, uncivilized and vocal minority”, and his references to Kindergarten raises the suspicion that he unintentionally got on the wrong website, but in my international network of adults there is not much laughing matter when it comes to the subject of classical music. But there are effective music appreciation courses nowadays in most cities, I’ve been told, so maybe that’s the place where he can get some adult instruction at not all too great expense. I would like to add something revealing about musical (no) taste and glass work but I have to attend to Sally who is hammering the cupboard door with some heavy object.

  • Eli Bensky says:

    Mr. Glass’s comment on Trump was sarcasm at its best but unfortunately too true. It has nothing to do with his music, which I happen to think is great

    • M2N2K says:

      Tastes in arts are subjective of course, but calling music by PG “great” is beyond any acceptable parameters. It is what I call aural wallpaper, and just like real wallpaper it can occasionally be pretty. In movies it sometimes serves its limited purpose adequately, but “great” music it certainly is not.

      • Nick says:

        Finally, an honest and simple opinion. Thank you!
        I cannot agree more. And this is true about 99% of music written these days. Or may be we all should attend inexpensive course of music appreciation so that we would call this music “great”. I am positive mr. Borstlap thinks of his music as great!! Hence the advice.