The Happiest Day of Joanna Newsom's Mom's Life
Indie-pop harpist hooks up with renowned composer Philip Glass for a benefit show—and perhaps more to come.
Joanna Newsom and Philip Glass? Sounds like a match made in heaven—or in San Francisco, where the two recently joined forces for a concert to benefit the Henry Miller Library, the small bookstore and community arts center tucked away in the redwoods overlooking the cliffs of Big Sur that's become an icon of the California coast and its culture.
Neither artist is a stranger to high-powered collaborations: Glass has worked with everyone from Woody Allen to Brian Eno, while Newsom's worked with the likes of Vashti Bunyan and The Roots. This particular combination, though, is particularly exciting: both Glass and Newsom utilize a rigorous classical training in service of creating new, occasionally bizarre, forms that've provided new points of entry to quasi-classical music for millions of fans while befuddling or outright alienating plenty of others.
Glass became famous for his minimalist, repetitive compositions and has written pioneering works for opera, film, and theater, while Newsom made a name for herself with her harp, inimitably high-pitched voice, and intricate, baroque, art-pop songs. Both are iconoclastic performers and polarizing figures, inspiring intense devotion or immense distaste. Tim Fain, the violinist who joined the two for the concert, is less well-known—though likely not for long, given his virtuosic talent and the company he keeps.