The annual multidisciplinary Days and Nights Festival—which since 2011 has taken place in and around Big Sur, California and has brought together luminaries and pioneers in fields including music, dance, theater, literature, film and the sciences—launches its premiere streaming portal featuring exclusive films of a selection of its landmark performances and events. Click HERE or visit PhilipGlassCenterPresents.org, and see below for upcoming film details and release dates.
Conceived and developed by world-renowned American composer Philip Glass—who has taken part every year since inception—Days and Nights is designed to encompass arts of all disciplines and nurture them in a way that welcomes the future while exploring seminal developments throughout history. Key to that vision are collaborations between artists from across a broad range of disciplines, and the selection of films slated for release includes contributions by such wide-ranging figures as JoAnne Akalaitis, Tibetan artist Tenzin Choegyal, Danny Elfman, Molissa Fenley, María Irene Fornés, Allen Ginsberg, Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Jerry Quickley and Glass himself. Featured performers and ensembles include Dennis Russell Davies, Ira Glass, Matt Haimovitz, Tara Hugo, Lavinia Meijer, Maki Namekawa, Gregory Purnhagen, Third Coast Percussion, Opera Parallèle and Glass and his Philip Glass Ensemble. See below for details.
“From the beginning, I wanted it to be a cross-cultural festival, but not just in terms of musicians from different parts of the world. I meant it in a truly cultural way. I was interested in history, in culture, in medicine, in science, in psychotherapy, in various kinds of spiritual practices,” says Glass of conceiving Days and Nights. “By the time I was 29, musically I had found my voice. By the time I was 30, I realized that ‘finding my voice’ was actually a cul-de-sac. The real question is, how do you get rid of it once you find it? I discovered that when I intersected my own hearing with other people’s work, it changed my music—I could not learn to listen to their music without changing what I did. I saw collaboration as an engine of change. Without that, I would be writing the music I wrote in 1960.”
Produced and directed by filmmaker Arturo Béjar for his company Obsidian Lens, the films are being released under a visionary, fully transparent model designed to create real income for the artists involved. In an era where art and entertainment are regularly accessed through the internet, business models where millions of views or listens are necessary for an artist to make meaningful income have become the norm. As an alternative, Days and Nights has developed a new model under which the films will be offered for sale and rental across a variety of platforms (as opposed to a single platform to which an exclusive license is granted) and revenue will be allocated as follows: 30% to the performers/companies; 30% to the rights holders of the material; 30% to fund the worldwide distribution services and production of future works; and 10% to the cost of producing the films.
“Knowing how hard it is these days for most artists to make a living, we set out with the goal to film and share with a global audience these singular, intimate events—sometimes experienced by less than one hundred audience members—and to do so in a way that honors the value of an artist’s work,” Béjar says. “We can demonstrate that it is an economically feasible model. We hope that other artists can learn from how Philip has maintained his financial and creative independence over the course of his long and revolutionary career.”
Following the rollout of the films, the Tenth Anniversary edition of the Days and Nights Festival will take place virtually in 2021 due to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “What I’m interested in is what happens when you take a whole evening of people who are coming in from different places, and the commonality we have has partly been established by the technology,” Glass says of his approach to a digital Festival. “This has been a difficult time, and I’m hoping that what we learn will propel us into a better place than we were before. Live performances are going to come back, but also online performances are developing in ways we never could have imagined. The Festival will be truly international, and no one will have left home—you’ll hear things that never could have happened before, that previously would have been limited to the people in a room in Big Sur or Carmel. The whole meaning of the Festival’s name has changed, because now it truly is ‘Days and Nights.’ My days are his nights, her nights are my days, and so forth.”
Details of the Tenth Anniversary Days and Nights Festival to be announced soon.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass, is an award-winning composer, renowned for his innovative projects in ensemble, opera, dance, theater, orchestra, film, and more. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, he had a number of innovative projects creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach, for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Glass’ memoir Words Without Music was published by Liveright Books in 2015. Glass received the Praemium Imperiale in 2012, the U.S. National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama in 2016, and 41st Kennedy Center Honors in 2018. Recent works include Symphony No. 12, a completion of three symphonies based on David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, his first Piano Sonata and a new opera, Circus Days and Nights, to premiere in May 2021.
The Days and Nights Festival is the lead program of The Philip Glass Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by world-renowned and highly collaborative composer Philip Glass. The mission of the Center is to gather the world’s leaders in the fields of art, science and the environment for a broad array of interdisciplinary activities that inspire and motivate the public to become engaged in matters vital to the future of the natural environment and the quality of human existence.
Now in its tenth year, Days and Nights aims to showcase how interdisciplinary collaborations can expand imaginations and foster emotions beyond what can be accomplished by any individual discipline. Art can be used to express scientific ideas, while both science and the environment can inspire the arts. The Festival brings these explorations to life through world-class artist collaborations in music, dance, theater, lectures and spoken-word performances, presented in intimate venues throughout the historically significant artistic community of Carmel and Big Sur, California.
Since 2012, Arturo Béjar has been the photographer for Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival. In 2017 he joined the board of the Philip Glass Center for the Arts, Science, and the Environment and also had the premiere of Infinity, a piece he made in collaboration with Philip Glass. A man of many hats, Béjar also works in technology supporting people in diverse ways to better communicate and get along online and in person. During his time at Facebook he started the “Compassion Team,” applying lessons from social science and different spiritual traditions to support people in navigating issues like bullying, suicide prevention and conflict resolution.