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Shalom Goldman collection on Akhnaten by Philip Glass

Identifier: C-148

Scope and Contents

Collection contains promotional materials related to performances of Akhnaten (including performances at Emory in 2009, at ENO in London in 2016, and at the LA Opera in 2016), newspaper articles and clippings about composer Philip Glass and his work, and published materials about the opera, Akhnaten. Collection also contains recordings of lectures and talks about the opera, Akhnaten. These recordings take the form of online videos as well as audio cassettes. Please contact Special Collections for access to these materials.


  • 1980-2017


Language of Materials

English (parts of the Libretto are in Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew)

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

Philip Glass (1937-) is an American composer. Glass founded the Phillip Glass Ensemble, with which he still performs on keyboards. Glass has written numerous operas and musical theatre works, including the three biographical operas: Einstein on the Beach (about Albert Einsteim), Satyagraha (about Mahatma Gandhi), and Akhnaten (about the pharaoh Ahknaten). Glass has also written eleven symphonies, eleven concertos, seven string quartets and various other chamber music, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards. Glass' compositions have been described as minimalist, although Glass describes himself as a composer of "music with repetitive structures."

Akhnaten is an opera in three acts based on the life of the pharoah Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) and his religious convictions. This opera by minimalist composer, Philip Glass, premiered on March 24, 1984, at the Stuttgart State Theatre, under the German title Echnaten. The American premiere was held on October 12, 1984, at the Houston Grand Opera. Glass has said that Akhnaten is the culmination of his two other biographical operas, Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha. The text of the opera is taken from original sources and sung in the orginal languages, linked together by the commentary of a narrator in a modern language. Egyptian texts of the period are taken from a poem by Akhenaten, from the Book of the Dead, and from decrees and letters from the Amarna period (seventeen year period of Akhenaten's rule). Other portions of the opera are in Akkadian and Biblical Hebrew. The three acts are as follows:

Act 1: Year 1 of Akhnaten's Reign in Thebes

Act 2: Years 5 to 15 in Thebes and Akhetaten

Act 3: Year 17 and the Present

Shalom Goldman is currently the Pardon Tillinghast Professor of Religion at Middlebury College. Goldman co-authored the Libretto of Akhnaten with Philip Glass.


3 Boxes


Collection is arranged into five series:

I Performances

II Materials related to Philip Glass

III Talks and lectures

IV Published materials

V Miscellaneous materials

Materials within each series are arranged chronologically.


Special Collections continues to add materials to this collection as they are received.

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States