Pandit Pran Nath La Monte Young Marian Zazeela Jung Hee Choi Charles Curtis Terry Jennings Angus Maclise Richard Maxfield Just Alap Raga Ensemble The Theater of Eternal Music Kirana Center Teaching Program

La Monte Young

The Well-Tuned Piano 81 X 25


Press Quotes

"The first choice is clear. I'm confident that La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano will receive little competition as the most important and beautiful new work recorded in the 1980s. Young's achievement is unique, the recording a technological triumph."

Kyle Gann, FANFARE November/December 1987

"La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano is an enthralling marathon a non-stop performance at once wacko and visionary. ... Hear it simply for what it is: hypnotic, mysterious sound glistening with its own disembodied beauty. Its five hours seem remarkably short."

Alan Rich, NEWSWEEK 7/27/87

"La Monte Young retunes his Imperial Bosendorfer and produces a rousing masterpiece."

Alan Rich, CALIFORNIA, September 1987

"The Well-Tuned Piano is a work of tremendous vision; those who are willing to give it the time and effort it takes will find it one of the great monuments of modern culture."

Mark Swed, L.A. HERALD EXAMINER 6/28/87

"The Well-Tuned Piano is the product of a lifelong enthusiasm for both Eastern mystical traditions and investigations of acoustics, natural harmonics and human pitch perception undertaken by 20th-century science. ... His resonantly retuned piano hummed and roared and seemed to sing; listeners of an earlier time would undoubtedly have believed they were hearing the Music of the Spheres made manifest."

Robert Palmer, THE NEW YORK TIMES 4/23/87

"The Well-Tuned Piano is an unparalleled exercise in attunement to sound. Each large section builds up from sparse, melodic notes to dense, stochastic clouds with such gradualness that intense listening is needed to catch the process in motion. Here, form followed acoustic necessity: the flow of momentum marshaled the vibrations of air in the room, slowly making the ear aware of sounds that weren't actually being played. The play of combination and difference tones created astounding aural illusions. Young's achievement represents the first successful implantation of an Eastern heart into a Western body (a grand piano). Considering the work's harmonic, thematic, and timbral complexity, my gut feeling was that five-plus hours was not a minute too long."

Kyle Gann, THE VILLAGE VOICE 6/9/87

"The Well-Tuned Piano for its influence, its formal originality, its fluid improvisational style, its lengthy gestation, and its monumental ambitions may well be the most important piano music composed by an American since the Concord Sonata."

Kyle Gann, CHICAGO READER 7/17/87

"50 More Top CD's to Tickle Your Laser: Five-plus hours of cosmic pianistic thrumming. ...those in search of mystic waves of sound, as meditational focus or hip background music, are urged to check this out."

John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES 6/7/87

"The Well-Tuned Piano reaffirmed [Young's] position as one of today's most influential composers, the main man of minimalism, who has seen his pioneering efforts flourish in artists ranging from Terry Riley to Jon Hassell to the Velvet Underground. Gramavision has captured one very good performance. The sound quality is outstanding, the attention to detail, from the enclosed booklet to Zazeela's calligraphy on the discs, painstaking. ... The added range, coupled with the alternative tuning and Young's analytical methods, simultaneously liberates and tames the piano. Without any electronic enhancement, he can make it roar with a thunderous tread in "Young's Bose Brontosaurus Boogie" or whisper in "Sunlight Filtering Through the Leaves."

Charles McCardell, THE WASHINGTON POST 5/24/87

"The Well-Tuned Piano marks a turning point, of sorts, in contemporary music. A hearing of the piece is like being there for the premiere of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or more recently, Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." The composition has the potential for changing the way people think about music. It's unlike anything you've heard before."


"...this marvelous recording of a landmark piece in contemporary music and the work that probably coined the categorical term Minimalism is born. The Well- Tuned Piano is an extremely insular, calming and personal work and a masterpiece at that. Listening to the entire five-hour-plus composition [one] discovers something new each time."

Brooke Wentz, DOWN BEAT August 1987

"Howard Mandel: Have you heard La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano?

Ornette Coleman: I know La Monte from California in the '50s; you ever hear him play alto? He was very good. Anyway, what about it?

Howard Mandel: It's in just intonation, and it's very beautiful; there's sound that's not played but that emerges from the overtones."

Howard Mandel, DOWN BEAT August 1987

"The Well-Tuned Piano is, simply put, an extraordinary, rewarding, exhilarating experience. The strangeness of the idiom isn't that difficult to assimilate; what you hear from then on is virtuosic composing and playing, music that exults, roars, whispers profound but gentle thoughts, caresses, maddens now and then, but never bores. Time passes quickly; the ear, the spirit emerge refreshed."

Alan Rich, CALIFORNIA September 1987

"What really makes his live improvisation so accessible is a phenomenal pianistic technique. You can feel the precise passion of every attack, and you can nearly see him sculpt those tones out of an inner silence cultivated through meditation. ... No matter what kind of music you listen to, this album is the quintessential ear wash. For only fifty bucks you'll never hear the same again."

Pamela Bloom, MUSICIAN September 1987

"A landmark in just intonation is La Monte Young's monumental 1964 piece, The Well-Tuned Piano. ... An eerie, transcendent beauty pervades the work. Young's tuning produces ghost tones phantom strings, choirs, and horns that ring out amid the webs of sonic interference patterns he spins. The sheer breadth of the piece strengthens the power of the trance it produces."

Kyle Kevorkian, KEYBOARD September 1987

"In The Well-Tuned Piano, Young's high-speed fingering releases great washes of played and unplayed tones, which sound like nothing so much as a radiant cloud of brass and string tones hovering over the massive piano. In the same way that the impressionist painters experimented with tricking the eye to see colors that were not in their palettes, so Young seems to pull rainbows of sound out of the air. It is a truly striking effect!"

John Neilson, OPTION Sept - Oct 1987

"La Monte Young's recent retrospective concerts filled me with nostalgia. Young's music is unusual today in that it is an idea music: not that it is composed of ideas (a condition that would be fatal to its meditative purpose), but that ideas are still important to its understanding and creation. His is an epistemological music, if you will, based on an intellectual conception of reality rather than on the day-to-day compromises of performance practice. I ironically called that the "Darmstadt mindset," as though it were something special, but Young's music is conceived the way I secretly think all music should be."

Kyle Gann, THE VILLAGE VOICE 8/4/87

"Given Young's reputation as the father of minimalism, the inventor of meditation music, the inspirer of the Velvet Underground, and an intrepid explorer in the mysteries of tuning, I submit that this recording of Young's The Well-Tuned Piano is destined to be the most important recording of the 1980s."

Kyle Gann, CHICAGO READER 7/17/87

"Without doubt, Gramavision's recording of The Well-Tuned Piano by La Monte Young, the first recording on a commercial American label of an avant-garde master influential since the early '60s, is the major new music recording event of the 1980s."

Kyle Gann, FANFARE September/October 1987