On July 13, at 9 pm, the world-renowned composer and musician Philip Glass will give a solo piano concert in front of Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell’Accademia
in Florence. This event is held in memory of his friend Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photographs are currently on view in the museum for the exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe. Perfection in Form. Exactly twenty years ago, Glass played at the memorial concert for Mapplethorpe in New York, when the photographer died of AIDS at only 43 years old. Now, to remember Mapplethorpe, Glass will give a solo piano concert and perform some of his Etudes. Glass explains that he wrote the pieces, in part, to expand on the works for his solo concerts. “Hence the name Etudes or ‘studies.’ The result is a body of work that has a broad range of dynamic, tempo, and emotion.” It’s no surprise that this musical selections fits in perfectly with the spirit of the show; Glass collaborated on the exhibition by providing suggestions and sharing memories with the curator Jonathan Nelson. As noted by Franca Falletti, director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, the exhibition includes several ‘studies’ by Michelangelo, and “for Mapplethorpe, the camera is took comparable to what the pen was for Michelangelo. The result is something that, in the past, was called a “study” but today is also defined as a work of art in and of itself.” Just like Glass’s Etudes.
Many of Glass’s albums contain portraits of him by Mapplethorpe. The exhibition contains the most famous one, from Einstein on the Beach, the opera that revolutionized the world of music and opera in the 1970s. This minimalist masterpiece seems very different from Mapplethorpe's works, but according to Glass the two shared the same artistic goals. For both, he said “subject and structure are the same thing.”
Some invitations to the concert will be available at the museum before the concert.