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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

Hydrogen Jukebox (1990)
commissioned by the Spoleto Music Festival USA, Charleston, SC and the American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, PA
Work Notes
Music-theatre piece by Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and Jerome Sirlin. Libretto (English) by Allen Ginsberg.
Text Writer
Allen Ginsberg
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Operetta / Musical Theatre
Year Composed
1 Hour 30 Minutes
2 Sopranos, Mezzo Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
Programme Note
Philip Glass Hydrogen Jukebox (1990)

Drawing upon Ginsberg's poetry, this music/theatre piece is a portrait of America that covers the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's, seen by the collaborators Glass, Ginsberg and Sirlin. Its content ranges form highly personal poems of Ginsberg to his reflection on social issues: the anti-war movement, the sexual revolution, drugs, eastern philosophy, environmental awareness. The six vocal parts represent six archetypal American characters - a waitress, a policeman, a businessman, a cheerleader, a priest, a mechanic.

Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    Philip Glass Ensemble
    Martin Goldray
  • 26 APR 2019
    University of Washington, Meany Hall, Seattle, WA
    School of Music Vocal Theater Workshop and Modern Ensemble
    Dean Williamson, conductor

    Other Dates:
    27 April - University of Washington, Meany Hall, Seattle, WA

Twenty-one years after its premiere, the work remains provocative for its critiques of misjudged wars, corporate abuses and political flimflammery, and its embrace of homosexuality and drug use. Glass's score has his familiar undulations and pulsings, but also surprisingly lush harmonies....gathering emotional intensity.
Scott Cantrell, Opera,01/10/2011
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