When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke, some even became violent:

“This was in Amsterdam and I played a piece called “Two Pages.” And I guess it could drive you crazy a little bit — it only had five notes in it, but it was five notes in a lot of different ways, and I thought it was interesting. This was about 1971 and the idea of music that was so, let’s say, consciously or steadfastly repetitive was not so common then.

And someone jumped on the stage and began banging on the piano and, without thinking about it, I stood up and I punched him on the jaw or something, just like the comic books, and he fell off the stage. People came afterwards to say hello and the fellow was there and he said, “And now we have the discussion,” and I said, “No. We had the discussion, thank you.” And that was it. … I think he thought that I was making fun of him. … When [artist Jackson] Pollock first began doing his drip paintings, people thought he was making fun of them. … Why would you go all the way to Amsterdam just to make a fool of yourself in front of other people? I mean, or to make fools of them?”