Hallelujah Junction

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Hallelujah Junction is a composition for two pianos written in 1996 by the American composer John Adams.[1] Adams titled his autobiography after this composition.[2] A two-CD retrospective album of works by Adams on the Nonesuch label is also entitled Hallelujah Junction, but does not include the composition.


The name comes from a small truck stop on US 395 which meets Alternate US 40, (now State Route 70) near the California–Nevada border.[3] Adams said of the piece, "Here we have a case of a great title looking for a piece. So now the piece finally exists: the 'junction' being the interlocking style of two-piano writing which features short, highly rhythmicized motives bouncing back and forth between the two pianos in tightly phased sequences".[4]

The work centers around delayed repetition between the two pianos, creating an effect of echoing sonorities. There is a constant shift of pulse and meter, but the main rhythms are based on the rhythms of the word "Hal–le–LU–jah".

The work is in three unnamed movements, and generally takes about 16 minutes to perform.[5] It was first performed by Grant Gershon and Gloria Cheng at the Getty Center in Brentwood, California, in 1998. It is dedicated to Ernest Fleischmann,[4] long-time general manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In 2002 the composition was used for a ballet with choreography by Peter Martins.[3]


In popular culture[edit]

The 2017 film Call Me by Your Name opens with an excerpt of the first movement.

An excerpt of the first movement was used in the pilot episode of FX's drama POSE.


  1. ^ Allan Kozinn (March 23, 2005). "Beyond Minimalism: The Later Works of John Adams". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-22. Hallelujah Junction (1996), a two-piano work played with appealingly sharp edges by Nicolas Hodges and Rolf Hind, begins with a Minimalist shimmer, a reference, perhaps, to Steve Reich's method of taking two identical instruments and moving them out of phase. But that lasts only a few seconds: the lines are quickly differentiated, and the work's three movements tumble through ragtime fragments, stretches of mechanistic ebullience, disjointed syncopations and even, briefly, singing lyricism.
  2. ^ John Adams. "Hallelujah Junction: the book". John Adams' website. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07.
  3. ^ a b Anna Kisselgoff (January 24, 2002). "What's Black and White and Rhythmic All Over? Ask Peter Martins". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-22. Hallelujah Junction, Peter Martins's eighth and latest ballet to music by John Adams, is a spare and elegant work, the black-and-white equivalent of the propulsive Technicolor fantasias Mr. Martins has choreographed to other Adams scores. ... This ballet is named after its score: Hallelujah Junction is the name of a truck stop on the California-Nevada border near a cabin owned by Mr. Adams. ...
  4. ^ a b John Adams. "Hallelujah Junction, for two pianos". Los Angeles Philharmonic. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  5. ^ Hallelujah Junction, for 2 pianos at AllMusic
  6. ^ Stravinsky: Concerto for 2 pianos; Adams: Hallelujah Junction; Boulez: Structures, Book 2 at AllMusic
  7. ^ Lewis, Uncle Dave. John Adams: Road Movies at AllMusic
  8. ^ John Adams: Road Movies; Hallelujah Junction; Phrygian Gates; China Gates at AllMusic
  9. ^ Manheim, James. John Adams: Complete Piano Music at AllMusic
  10. ^ Manheim, James. Junctions at AllMusic