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La Monte Young

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La Monte Young

American, b. 1935
La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer, musician, and artist recognized as one of the first American minimalist composers and a central figure in post-war avant-garde music. He is best known for his exploration of sustained tones, beginning with his 1958 composition Trio for Strings. His works have called into question the nature and definition of music, most prominently in the text scores of his Compositions 1960. Young played jazz saxophone and studied composition in California during the 1950s, and subsequently moved to New York in 1960, where he was a central figure in the downtown music and Fluxus art scenes. He then became known for his pioneering work in drone music(originally called dream music) with his Theatre of Eternal Music collective, alongside collaborators such as Tony Conrad, John Cale, and his wife, the multimedia artist Marian Zazeela. Since 1962, he has worked extensively with Zazeela, with whom he developed the Dream House sound and light environment. Beginning in 1970, he studied under Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Perhaps Young's best known work is The Well-Tuned Piano, an ongoing, improvisatory composition begun in 1964 and performed throughout subsequent decades.

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