Interesting to note that while Glass started composing in his teens, he relied on driving taxis, plumbing work, and removal jobs as sources of income until his 40s. Only after 20-odd years of composing did he start to make enough money not to feel the need to renew his taxi licence.
"At 20, he went to study composition at the Juilliard School of Music (where Steve Reich was a fellow student) and then enrolled in a composer-in-residence scheme for two years in Pittsburgh schools. In 1964, he moved to Paris to study with the composer Nadia Boulanger and in 1967 moved back to New York where he founded the Philip Glass Ensemble. Looking at his CV from this time on, it would be tempting to say that the rest is history, but artistic output, as so often in life, did not automatically translate into money.[unquote]
Glass didn't earn a living from his music, in fact, until he was 42. Until then, he drove cabs, shifted furniture and worked as a plumber. "I was careful," he explains, "to take a job that couldn't have any possible meaning for me." Stories of famous-composer-actually-working-man-shock from that period abound. The art critic Robert Hughes was astonished to find the avant garde composer mending his dishwasher. On another occasion, a woman tapped on the side of his cab and told him that he had the same name as a "very famous composer.
Gradually, the commissions trickled in and, by the time Glass was 44, he realised that the cab driver's licence that he'd renewed as a precaution might not be needed."