La Monte Young (born Bern, Idaho, 1935) has pioneered the concept of extended time durations in contemporary music for over 35 years. As well, his work has played a central role in the development of the use of Just Intonation in 20th-century music and the growth of the Minimalist style. Early involved in jazz, during the 1950s La Monte Young was a performer in Los Angeles of jazz saxophone, playing with Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, and Don Cherry, among others. After graduate composition studies at the University of California at Berkeley, he moved to New York City, where he directed the first loft concert series in that city. He has lived in New York ever since.
With the founding in 1962 of The
Theatre of Eternal Music, Mr. Young began work on his ongoing ensemble
work The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys (1964-present). Over
the years, members of The Theatre of Eternal Music have included Terry
Riley, John Cale, Jon Gibson, Jon Hassell, and Marian
Zazeela. His other major ongoing work has been his The Well-Tuned
Piano (1964-73-81-present), for a special, Justly tuned Bösendorfer
Imperial piano. By 1987, his performances of this work had expanded to
a duration of almost six and a half hours.