ROBERT Hughes, the Australian art critic, filmmaker and writer, wandered into the kitchen of his fashionable loft home in New York’s SoHo to see how the plumber was going, setting up his new dishwasher.

On his knees grappling with the machine, the plumber heard a noise and looked up.

Hughes gasped: “My god, you’re Philip Glass. I can’t believe it. What are you doing here?”

Glass, one of the world’s most famous composers, said afterwards: “It was obvious that I was installing his new dishwasher, and I told him I would soon be finished.”

“But you are an artist,” Hughes protested.

Glass said: “I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well, and that he should go away and let me finish.”

RTWT (Thanks to Lynne Marie Flegg, who posted the link on Facebook!)


  1. Glass also worked as a taxi-driver and (with Steve Reich) as a mover. I have given some thought to writing a set of miniature operas on Glass’s day jobs. From an article on-line:

    Einstein on the Beach was premiered in Avignon on July 25 1976. Glass and Wilson were then offered the option of two performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where the critical reaction was delirious: “One listens to the music just as one watches Wilson’s shifting tableaus,” wrote John Rockwell in the New York Times, “and somehow, without knowing it, one crosses the line from being puzzled or irritated to being absolutely bewitched.” The day after the performance, Glass was back driving his taxi: “I vividly remember the moment, shortly after the Met adventure,” he says, “when a well-dressed woman got into my cab. After noting the name of the driver, she leaned forward and said: ‘Young man, do you realise you have the same name as a very famous composer’.”

  2. Yep, that story is in this article, too! :-)

  3. I am absolutely cracking up over this. Sure you hear this kind of story with rock musicians all the time, but the average person thinks that classical musicians live their lives as untouchable.

    :) great story.