The Mutual Influence between Asian Cultures and American Minimalist Music: An Essential Channel for Aesthetic Exchange


  • Ang-Cheng Kris Ho United Internationl College
  • Fernando Martin Pastor



Asian Culture, Asian Minimalists, John Cage, minimalism, Tan Dun



This research aims to show the mutual influence between Asian cultures and American minimalist music. This cultural exchange that started with John Cage, before continuing with Toru Takemitsu and then, Tan Dun, has been a fruitful channel of communication for new compositions in both continents. The paper explores the close connection between early minimalist composers (Reich, Glass, La Monte Young, and Terry Riley) and Asian music and philosophies (Zen Buddhism and Spirituality) as well as some of the ramifications of these traditions over the past five decades. The concept of minimalism was first applied in the arts as a return to simplicity, in tune with Asian philosophies. For some artists, the practice was already present in Asian arts before it appeared in the West. The minimalistic endeavour starts with the experimental works of Cage and Feldman; followed by the movement “Fluxus”. This coincided with what is often considered early minimalism, leading to the great variety of styles and mix of compositional techniques employed by current Asian composers influenced by American minimalism. This paper also analyses the use of minimalism in the Western and Asian curriculum.


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How to Cite

Ho, A.-C. K., & Pastor, F. M. (2022). The Mutual Influence between Asian Cultures and American Minimalist Music: An Essential Channel for Aesthetic Exchange. Malaysian Journal of Music, 11(1), 33–52.