On Minimalism: Documenting a Musical Movement (Paperback)

On Minimalism: Documenting a Musical Movement By Kerry O'Brien (Editor), William Robin (Editor) Cover Image

On Minimalism: Documenting a Musical Movement (Paperback)

By Kerry O'Brien (Editor), William Robin (Editor)


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A revisionist history of minimalism's transformative rise, through the voices of the musicians who created it.

When composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich began creating hypnotically repetitive music in the 1960s, it upended the world of American composition. But minimalism was more than a classical phenomenon—minimalism changed everything. Its static harmonies and groovy pulses swept through the broader avant-garde landscape, informing the work of Yoko Ono and Brian Eno, John and Alice Coltrane, Pauline Oliveros and Julius Eastman, and many others.
On Minimalism moves from the style's beginnings in psychedelic counterculture through its present-day influences on ambient jazz, doom metal, and electronic music. The editors look beyond the major figures to highlight crucial and diverse voices—especially women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ musicians—that have shaped the genre. Featuring more than a hundred rare historical sources, On Minimalism curates this history anew, documenting one of the most important musical movements of our time.
Kerry O'Brien is a writer and musicologist who teaches at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She has published work on minimalism and experimentalism in Rethinking Reich, Tempo, the Chicago Reader, and the New York Times.

William Robin is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Maryland School of Music, author of Industry: Bang on a Can and New Music in the Marketplace, and a contributor to the New York Times.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520382084
ISBN-10: 0520382080
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: April 25th, 2023
Pages: 466
Language: English

"A gust of fresh air blowing across a stage. . . . As a compilation of source texts, On Minimalism is unparalleled, containing prescient, critical writings from many commentators and participants. . . . Organized in 21 accessible chunks (not only the expected ones, but also others covering spirituality, multimedia and altered states), each headed by an introduction that synthesizes the coming information, this is a breeze to navigate and, for all its scholarly chops, relaxed in its learning."

— The Wire