In 1979 Philip Glass Taught Sesame Street Viewers the Geometry of Circles

Our undated picture shows U.S. composer Philip Glass. (AP-Photo/HO)

Our undated picture shows U.S. composer Philip Glass. (AP-Photo/HO)


Contuing our occasional look at Sesame Street, arguably the greatest ever children’s TV show, we look back at Philip Glass’s appearance on it.

Geometry of Circles is a series of unnumbered animation pieces created for Sesame Street in 1979. Cathryn Aison commissioned Philip Glass to write music for animation based on her storyboard which had been submitted to and approved by Edith Zornow of CTW.

The shorts consist of the movement of six circles (each with a different color of the rainbow) that are formed by and split up into various geometric patterns. Glass’s music underscores the animation in a style that closely resembles the “Dance” numbers and the North Starvignettes written during the same time period as hisEinstein on the Beach opera.

The film has featured in public screenings and museum exhibits. In October 2012, the third movement from the film was included in the “Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


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