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Local Musicians Celebrate David Bowie At MIT — In A Most Peculiar Way

The community orchestra rehearsing at MIT. (Courtesy Christine Southworth)MoreCloseclosemore
The community orchestra rehearsing at MIT. (Courtesy Christine Southworth)

A community orchestra at MIT is celebrating the music of the late David Bowie Friday night in their own way.

The tribute will feature the Boston-area premieres of Philip Glass's Symphony No. 1, "Low," and Symphony No. 4, "Heroes." The symphonies were inspired by Bowie and Brian Eno's "Berlin Trilogy." Their three albums from the 1970s are “Low,” “Heroes” and “Lodger.”

The iconic musician died on Jan. 10 just days after his 69th birthday and release of "Blackstar."

Evan Ziporyn, a composer and professor of music at MIT, is directing the all-volunteer classical orchestra of 80 musicians. He’s a big Bowie fan and said this is a way for classical players like him to mourn the eclectic artist’s passing in a communal way.

“There are a lot of us who are into Bowie but we can’t do like a cover of 'Ziggy Stardust' because that’s not the kind of music we do,” Ziporyn explained. “It just seemed to be a way to do something with our feelings and to acknowledge what an influence he’d been.”

Ziporyn also said, “Bowie was really interested in new [classical] music. It influenced his own music and so that’s part of it as well.”

The 1,000-seat event at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium sold out in a day and a half, according to Ziporyn. You could still put your name on the waitlist, or you can listen live here beginning at 7 p.m. via WQXR. All proceeds are going to the MIT Cancer Research Fund.

Flowers placed around a mural of David Bowie in south London in the days after his death. (Matt Dunham/AP)
Flowers placed around a mural of David Bowie in south London in the days after his death. (Matt Dunham/AP)

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Andrea Shea Twitter Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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