Philip Glass and Nawang Khechog | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Philip Glass and Nawang Khechog




The dean of minimalism, who happens to be a longtime adherent of Tibetan Buddhism, is in town to honor the 14th Dalai Lama at this fund-raiser for the Tibetan Resettlement Project, which supports refugees in India and Nepal as well as the preservation of Tibetan culture. (The Dalai Lama himself is in town to participate in the annual conference of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies.) Glass will perform a piano tribute dashed off especially for the occasion--his first solo keyboard work in some time. Expect plenty of the Buddhistic chanting recently popularized by various sects of Tibetan monks. More noteworthy are two selections to be played by Tibetan-born flutist Nawang Khechog: "Ocean of Wisdom" (from his first CD, Karuna, on Domo Records), and "Compassion and Wisdom." Now residing in the Rocky Mountains, Nawang lived for years as a hermit monk in the Himalayan foothills. He taught himself to play Tibetan tunes on the bamboo flute; then, while in exile in Australia, he became proficient on the didgeridoo. In 1991 celebrity Buddhist Richard Gere (who will recite an incarcerated monk's poem here) introduced Nawang to Japanese New Age star Kitaro, who would produce Karuna--the title means "compassion" in Sanskrit. At its most evocative, Nawang's ethereal music suggests peaceful communion with nature. In "Compassion and Wisdom" he'll introduce an instrument of his own invention, the "universal horn"--supposedly a hybrid of the Tibetan long horn, the didgeridoo, and the trombone. Sunday, 2 PM, Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash; 275-7454.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photograph of Nawang Khechog (Domo Records).

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