La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American avant-garde composer, musician, and artist generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works are cited as notable examples of post-war experimental and contemporary music, and were initially inspired by sources such as Indian classical music, serialism, and jazz. Young's early work was tied to New York's downtown music and Fluxus art scenes, and was often heavily conceptual, calling into question the nature and definition of music.
Young is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in Western drone music, prominently explored in the 1960s with the experimental music collective Theatre of Eternal Music, which also included figures such as Tony Conrad, John Cale, and Terry Riley. He has engaged in musical and multimedia collaborations with a wide range of artists, most frequently the visual artist Marian Zazeela, with whom he developed the Dream House sound and light installation. His evolving composition The Well-Tuned Piano, first conceived in 1964, has been characterized as "one of the great achievements of 20th-century music" by The Guardian.
Despite having released a very small quantity of recorded output throughout his career (much of it currently out of print), Vulture 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."