La Monte Young’s loft

La Monte Young’s loft

275 Church St, New York, NY 10013

La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music ensemble at the composer’s loft deep in the heart of downtown, in a liminal zone between what would become known as SoHo and Tribeca.


John Cale Moves to New York City


While Lou Reed dabbled in experimental music in college, John Cale had an extensive background in that world. Born in South Wales, he received an undergraduate degree in classical music and absorbed the works of Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. In 1963, Cale was awarded a Leonard Bernstein scholarship to study modern composition at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, but he quickly fell out with composer Aaron Copland, who had helped Cale secure the scholarship. “Copland said I couldn’t play my work at Tanglewood,” he recalled. “It was too destructive, he said. He didn’t want his piano wrecked.” Cale then moved to New York and dove straight into the city’s avant-garde scene, participating in an eighteen-hour performance organized by John Cage soon after arriving. Once settled there, Cale began playing with La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music ensemble, which also included Factory custodian Billy Name and Tony Conrad (the friend of Jack Smith who compiled the soundtrack for Flaming Creatures).

From Chapter 11 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore