Harold Budd (born May 24, 1936) is an American ambient/avant-garde composer. Born in Los Angeles, California, he was raised in the Mojave Desert, and was inspired at an early age by the humming tone caused by wind blown across telephone wires. His career as a composer began in 1962. In the following years he gained a notable reputation in the local avant-garde community. In 1966 he graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in musical composition.
As his career progressed, his compositions became increasingly minimal. Among his more experimental works were two drone pieces, "Coeur d'Orr" and "Oak of the Golden Dream". "Oak of the Golden Dream" was based on the Balinese "Slendro" scale. After composing a long-form gong solo titled "Lirio", he felt he had reached the limits of his experiments in minimalism and the avant-garde. He retired temporally from composition in 1970 and began a teaching career at the California Institute of the Arts.
Two years later, while still retaining his teaching career, he resurfaced as a composer. Spanning from 1972-1975 he created four individual works under the collective title The Pavilion of Dreams. The style of these works was an unusual blend of popular jazz and the avant-garde. In 1976 he resigned from the institute and began recording his new compositions, produced by British ambient pioneer Brian Eno. Two years later Harold Budd's debut album The Pavilion of Dreams was released.
Since then he has developed a unique and powerful style of ambient music. His two collaborations with Brian Eno, The Plateaux of Mirror and The Pearl, established his trademark atmospheric piano style. In Lovely Thunder he introduced subtle electronic textures. His thematic 2000 release The Room saw a return to a more minimalist approach.
The Pavilion of Dreams (1978)
Ambient #2 / The Plateaux of Mirror (with Brian Eno) (1980)
The Serpent (in Quicksilver) (1981)
Abandoned Cities (EP) (1982)
The Pearl (with Brian Eno) (1984)
Lovely Thunder (1986)
Myths 3: La Nouvelle Serenite (with Gavin Bryars & Jon Hassell) (1987)
The White Arcades (1988)
By the Dawns Early Light (1991)
Music for 3 Pianos (with Daniel Lentz & Ruben Garcia) (1992)
She is a Phantom (live) (1994)
Through the Hill (with Andy Partridge) (1994)
Agua (compilation) (1995)
Glyph (with Hector Zazou) (1995)
Walk Into My Voice: American Beat Poetry (with Daniel Lentz & Jessica Karraker) (1996)
The Room (2000)
La Bella Vista (2003)
Translucence/Drift Music (with John Foxx) (2003)