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Sleeping Dogs Lie 29apr11: John Cale, Tony Conrad, Angus Maclise, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Henry Flynt

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 22apr11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 15apr11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 08apr11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 01apr11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 25mar11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 18mar11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 11mar11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 04mar11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 25feb11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 18feb11: La Monte Young

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 11feb11: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 04feb11: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 28jan11: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 21jan11: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 17dec10: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 10dec10: La Monte Young

La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and “minimal” compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.

Born in Bern, Idaho, USA, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School and studied at Los Angeles City College where he came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school’s jazz band. In LA’s jazz milieu, he played alongside notable musicians including Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.

He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received a BA in 1958, then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1960. In 1959 he attended the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1960 relocated to New York in order to study electronic music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research. His compositions during this period were influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, Indian classical music, Gagaku, and Indonesian gamelan music.

A number of Young’s early works use the twelve-tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at Los Angeles City College. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) Young also studied composition with Robert Stevenson at UCLA and with Seymore Shifrin at UCB. When Young visited Darmstadt in 1959, he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage’s collaborator, pianist David Tudor, who subsequently gave premières of some of Young’s works. At Tudor’s suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage’s music on the West Coast. In turn, Cage and Tudor included some of Young’s works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.

When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodic and politically charged aesthetic. Young’s works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.

His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions. Some of them are un-performable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: “draw a straight line and follow it” (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that “this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean.” Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: “To be held for a long time.”

In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the “Dream House”, a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed the Theatre of Eternal Music to realize “Dream House” and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble comprised Young and Zazeela; John Cale and Tony Conrad, a former Harvard mathematics major, and sometimes Terry Riley (voices). Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the “Theatre of Eternal Music” only intermittently, as it requires expensive and exceptional demands of rehearsal and mounting time.

Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works are often extreme in length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In their daily lives, too, Young and Zazeela practice an extended sleep-waking schedule—with “days” longer than twenty-four hours.

Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he had been using in his work led Young to pursue studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela, composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada, philosophers Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix and many others.

Young considers The Well Tuned Piano—a permuting composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano—to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Gramavision, then a later performance on a DVD on Young’s own Just Dreams label. One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.

Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent “Dream House” installations, which combine Young’s just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela’s quasi-calligraphic light sculptures. The effect is rigorous yet sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor’s perception to create sensory overload within a barely defined physical space. From January through April 19, 2009, “Dream House” was installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of The Third Mind exhibition.

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