Philip Glass on composing, creativity, and catching butterflies

Posted on Tue 21 May 2013
Philip Glass

Last week Bristol was buzzing as we welcomed legendary composer Philip Glass (creator of more than 20 operas, 50 film scores, 8 symphonies and several concertos) to the city for two special Filmic events: an intimate talk here at Watershed and a performance at St George's.

In a witty and warm interview with regular Watershed collaborator Charles Hazlewood, the pair covered a wide range of topics relating to film and music, including the 'special problem' film presents, the importance of composer-director collaboration and the strong parallels between film and opera.

We loved how Glass described his creative process as 'trying to catch butterflies' - how he hears music in his head and has to rush to write it down before it escapes. And how comforting to hear that even such a legend as Glass says that 'the first idea is the best idea - if you can remember what the first idea was!'

If you weren't lucky enough to be in the audience on the day, you can watch a recording of the event here. Enjoy!

When we say his work is seminal, we do not use the term lightly. Philip Glass is widely accepted as a composer who is changing the face of music for our time. Now in his seventies, he has certainly made his mark - his work is pervasive, not to mention regularly imitated.

We dedicated our Sunday Brunches in May to his work, and you're still just in time to catch the final weekend slot, the stunning Koyaanisqatsi, this Sunday at 12:00. Godfrey Reggio's landmark 1982 film uses stunning time-lapse, slow motion, double exposure and aerial photography and is, quite simply, a masterpiece. We can't wait to see it on the big screen: it's a totally riveting experience and you're in for a treat.

Philip Glass in Conversation was presented as part of Filmic 2013 - Watershed and St George's annual three month celebration of the enduring relationship between music and film. Along with the Glass's talk you can now watch interviews with John Parish (PJ Harvey collaborator and film composer), Douglas Hart (founding member of The Jesus and Mary Chain and music video director) and Amira Kheir (singer and composer who rescored One Arabian Night) in the Filmic 2013 collection on DShed, Watershed's online showcase of events and projects.