List of minimalist composers

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Notable minimalist composers include:

Contemporary composers[edit]

Other minimalists include:

Mystic minimalists[edit]

A number of composers showing a distinctly religious influence have been labelled the "mystic minimalists", or "holy minimalists":

Precedent composers[edit]

Other composers whose works have been described as precedents to minimalism include:

  • Jakob van Domselaer, whose early-20th century experiments in translating the theories of Piet Mondrian's De Stijl movement into music represent an early precedent to minimalist music.
  • Alexander Mosolov, whose orchestral composition Iron Foundry (1923) is made up of mechanical and repetitive patterns
  • George Antheil, whose 1924 Ballet Mecanique is characterized by much use of motoric and repetitive patterns, as well as an instrumentation made up of multiple player pianos and mallet percussion
  • Erik Satie, seen as a precursor of minimalism as in much of his music, for example his score for Francis Picabia's 1924 film Entr'acte which consists of phrases, many borrowed from bawdy popular songs, ordered seemingly arbitrarily and repetitiously, providing a rhythmic counterpoint to the film.
  • Colin McPhee, whose Tabuh-Tabuhan for two pianos and orchestra (1936) features the use of motoric, repetitive, pentatonic patterns drawn from the music of Bali (and featuring a large section of tuned percussion)
  • Carl Orff, who, particularly in his later theater works Antigonae (1940–49) and Oedipus der Tyrann (1957–58), utilized instrumentations (six pianos and multiple xylophones, in imitation of gamelan music) and musical patterns (motoric, repetitive, triadic) reminiscent of the later music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass
  • Yves Klein, whose 1949 Monotone Symphony (formally The Monotone-Silence Symphony, conceived 1947–1948) is an orchestral 40-minute piece whose first movement is an unvarying 20-minute drone and the second and last movement a 20-minute silence,[1][2] predating by several years both the drone music works of La Monte Young and the "silent" 4'33" of John Cage.
  • Morton Feldman, whose works prominently feature some sort of repetition as well as a sparseness
  • Alvin Lucier, whose acoustical experiments demand a stripped-down musical surface to bring out details in the phenomena
  • Anton Webern, whose economy of materials and sparse textures led many of the minimalists who were educated in serialism[vague] to turn to a reduction of means.[citation needed]
  • Alphonse Allais is the author of the earliest known example of a completely silent musical composition. His Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Great Deaf Man of 1897 consists of twenty-four blank measures. The fact that this is his one and only composition makes him all the more a precursor of minimalism in music.


  1. ^ Perlein and Corà 2000, 226: "This symphony, 40 minutes in length (in fact 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of silence) is constituted of a single 'sound' stretched out, deprived of its attack and end which creates a sensation of vertigo, whirling the sensibility outside time."
  2. ^ See also at a 1998 sound excerpt of The Monotone Symphony Archived 2008-12-08 at the Wayback Machine (Flash plugin required), its short description Archived 2008-10-28 at the Wayback Machine, and Klein's "Chelsea Hotel Manifesto" Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine (including a summary of the 2-part Symphony).