Glass on Bowie

Philip Glass on David Bowie: 'He was a master unto himself'”


David liked the idea that I was doing the symphonies. And he was very pleased with them, as was Brian Eno. They even had their pictures taken to feature alongside mine on the first edition of the Low symphony album cover*3.

Of the two works, David preferred No 4 (Heroes) because he thought it was more original. But I had to disagree with him: I thought No 1 (Low) was! Soon after its composition he began using the Heroes symphony for his walk-in music for some of his concerts. And, even more surprising, is that there’s a version around in which he superimposed his voice singing Heroes on to the symphonic recording. Somewhere in his archive there’s that recording – of David

I don’t think I could name my favourite Bowie album, or track. Changes? I don’t know. Like everybody else, I like the hits!


He and Brian had an amazing creative partnership. I actually never knew who did what. Both were so gifted in their ability to write lyrical music. They told me though that they never worked together at the same time. They worked in the same studio, but one of them had the day hours, the other the evening hours. I don’t even know how well they knew each other – I never actually saw them together! But there was always a lot of mystery around David as to what was going on. You never knew what he was up to. No one told him what to do, and he did what he wanted.

Within days of his death there were performances of my two symphonies among many other tributes. In fact I was kind of surprised there are so few full orchestrated versions of David’s compositions – given what an admired and talented composer he was. But I seem to have been the only person who’s ever written symphonies based on his work.

The two symphonies were of course originally intended to be part of a trilogy, just as Bowie and Eno’s Berlin albums*4 are. We talked, years ago, about doing the third symphony based on Lodger, and the idea has not totally disappeared.

フィリップ・グラス自身は立ち会えないものの、『ヒーローズ交響曲』は6月24日、グラストンベリー・フェスティヴァル*5にてCharles Hazlewood*6指揮で再演される*7 。ボウイのほかに、(モーターヘッドの)レミー*8、そして殿下*9へのトリビュート企画があるのだけれど、キース・エマーソン*10も忘れないでね! とはいいたい。

*1: See also

*2: See eg. Mentioned in




*6: See eg.

*7:See Hannah Ellis-Petersen “Glastonbury tributes to Bowie, Prince and Lemmy revealed”