La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American avant-garde composer, musician, and artist recognized as one of the first American minimalist composers. His works are cited as examples of post-war experimental and contemporary music, and were tied to New York's downtown music and Fluxus art scenes. Young is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in Western drone music (originally referred to as "dream music"), prominently explored in the 1960s with the experimental music collective the Theatre of Eternal Music. He has engaged in musical and multimedia collaborations with a wide range of artists, including Tony Conrad, Pandit Pran Nath, John Cale, Terry Riley, and multimedia artist Marian Zazeela, with whom he developed the Dream House sound and light environment.Young sees his work as calling into question the nature and definition of music. Despite having released very little recorded material throughout his career—much of it currently out of print—some sources have described him as "the most influential living composer today". The Observer wrote that his work has had "an utterly profound effect on the last half-century of music."
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A proponent of experimental music created by the use of extended drones. Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (1957-1958), he completed his graduate studies in composition at the University of California, Berkeley. An avid jazz musician, Young performed with Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. In the mid-1960s he formed the Theater of Eternal Music with Marian Zazeela, Angus MacLise and Billy Name; Tony Conrad and John Cale joined later. His use of long tones at high volume was an important influence on other group members, especially Cale, who went on to form the Velvet Underground.Young studied with world-renowned North Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath in the 1970s. Young and Zazeela later created the Dream House, a sound and light installation.
Artist, Composer, Musician, Performance Artist
La Monte Young
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