Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 31 January 2015

Join Alex James for a whistle-stop tour through all the important anniversaries in the classical music world over the week ahead.

Tonight, Alex will be raising a glass to the composer Philip Glass – who is lighting 78 candles on his cake today.

Glass is one of the most influential music makers of the past four decades, although he has distanced himself from the original label of 'minimalist', describing himself instead as a composer of 'music with repetitive structures'. He is also extraordinarily prolific, the composer of operas, musical theatre works, ten symphonies, eleven concertos, solo works, chamber music including string quartets and instrumental sonatas, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.

A much earlier master of stage music, Puccini enjoyed two premieres on 1 February - Manon Lescaut in 1893 and La bohème in 1986. Both premiered in the Italian city of Turin and Alex will be featuring music from both tonight.