Work by Philip Glass composed in collaboration with Ravi Shankar, Mark Atkins, Wu Man, Foday Musa Suso, Ashley MacIsaac, and Uakti.

Soloist(s): sitar, pipa, didgeridoo, kora, violin, alto, soprano; Orchestration: 3 wind players (I=fl, picc, ssx / II=fl, ssx, cl / III=tsx), 2perc.3pf

Commissioned by the Athens 2004 Cultural Olympiad

The Orion work was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad 2004 and received its premiere performance in Athens, June 2004, just before the Olympic Games. To mark this special event I chose to collaborate with a group of established musicians and composers – a group whose multiethnic origins reflect the international nature of the Olympiad itself.

Just as cultures are linked by shared themes, a common history and customs, so we – each separately and all together – are linked by the common quality of the natural world: rivers, oceans, our environment, its forests and mountains. And stars. Man has gazed up at the stars since the birth of humanity. This is the origin of astrology, astronomy, the measurement of the seasons and the first steps of science. I believe there is no single experience in the world which tells us more than the vastness of space, and the innumerable heavenly bodies. And thus the stars form a bond between us all – regardless of country, nationality, regardless even of time.

Orion, the largest constellation in the night sky, can be seen at all times of year, from both hemispheres. It seems that almost every civilisation has created myths and drawn inspiration from Orion. As the project advanced each of the musicians and composers, myself included, used part of this inspiration to aid us in our creative task.

And so the star-studded skies, seen from every corner of our planet, inspired us to present a multicultural, international, musical composition.

— Philip Glass

Dunvagen Music Publishers



Orion at


Orion on Orange Mountain Music