Philip Glass

with Allen Ginsberg
Hydrogen Jukebox

The creation of the chamber opera Hydrogen Jukebox can be traced to a chance meeting in 1988 between composer Philip Glass and poet Allen Ginsberg at the now defunct St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York City’s East Village. When Ginsberg plucked a book with a copy of his 1966 antiwar poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra” off the shelf and said he’d be reading it at a Broadway theater, Glass decided to compose a piano piece to accompany the reading. The collaboration was a success, so the two decided to expand the performance into a longer music-theater work. The result, Hydrogen Jukebox, a rarely performed piece for six voices and a chamber ensemble[…]