Feedback

Philip Glass at 85: His top works and film scores revealed

Exclusive PRS for Music data reveals Philip Glass’ most popular works and film scores

Philip Glass
Above: Philip Glass. Credit: Dunvagen.

To celebrate the 85th birthday of Philip Glass today (31 January 2022), PRS for Music has released two charts, revealing some of the prolific composer’s most popular works and film scores.

Philip Glass is one of the world’s most influential, accomplished and revered composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through his vast repertoire of award-winning compositions and wide-ranging collaborations with music creators ranging from Leonard Cohen to David Bowie and Brian Eno, Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of our times.

Based on data provided by PRS for Music, the organisation which represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers worldwide, the charts list Philip Glass’ most streamed, downloaded, broadcast and performed works and film scores in the UK and overseas.

Topping the Most Popular Works chart is the iconic Metamorphosis. Released as part of the Solo Piano album over three decades ago in 1989, the work refers to and was inspired by the 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. 

Three tracks from Glass’ seminal 1982 Glassworks album also appear in the Most Popular Works chart: Facades, Opening, and Closing. Commercially successful and intended to introduce his music to a broader audience, Glassworks gained Philip Glass widespread recognition and remains just as popular forty years on.

Showcasing the truly diverse nature of Philip Glass’ musical output since the 1960s, the Most Popular Works chart features a concerto (Violin Concerto No 1), a symphony (Symphony No 3) and two string quartets (No 2 and No 3). Entirely versatile in his composing approach and delivery, Philip Glass has composed multiple operas including the acclaimed Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten, chamber operas and musical theatre works, symphonies, concertos, string quartets, chamber music, and several film scores.

Koyaanisqatsi takes the top spot of the Most Popular Film Scores chart. Intrinsic to the 1982 American experimental non-narrative film produced and directed by Godfrey Reggio, Glass' score is noted as a prime example of the ‘minimalist’ school of composition. The score has become so popular in its own right that the Philip Glass Ensemble, comprising the principal performers of the music of Philip Glass, has toured the world performing the score live for concert hall audiences, in sync with film’s captivating visuals.

Glass’ enduringly popular score for The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey, won Best Original Score at the Golden Globes in 1999 and appears third in PRS for Music’s Philip Glass’ Most Popular Film Scores chart, while his score for The Hours, the 2002 film starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore, won the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music BAFTA in 2003, and appears at number six.

From 2019 to 2020, UK streams and downloads of Philip Glass’ music jumped by 237%, as music-lovers unable to attend live concerts flocked to online platforms to experience his compositions, and in 2021, his works received almost 9,500 minutes, or 6.5 continuous days, of airplay on UK radio. 

PRS for Music: Philip Glass’ Most Popular Works

Rank

Work

1

Metamorphosis (from Solo Piano)

2

Violin Concerto No 1

3

Facades (from Glassworks)

4

Opening (from Glassworks)

5

Music in 12 Parts (from Music in 12 Parts)

6

Symphony No 3

7

Music with Changing Parts (from Music with Changing Parts) 

8

String Quartet No 2

9

Closing (from Glassworks)

10

String Quartet No 3

Rank

Film score

1

Koyaanisqatsi

2

Mishima

3

The Truman Show

4

Candyman 2

5

The Hours

6

The Visitors

7

Candyman

8

Mr Nice

9

The Secret Agent

10

The Fog of War

NB: Chart ranks based on UK streams, downloads, broadcasts, public performance and overseas usage data provided by PRS for Music for the period 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2021.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world. On behalf of its members, it works diligently to grow and protect the value of their rights and ensure that creators are paid transparently and efficiently whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2021, 27 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £677.2m paid out in royalties to its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations. prsformusic.com

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

switching account

Switching your account...