Some good answers here.
There are two answers to the question.
The wrong answer (though the one I prefer) is: what are some not very minimalist pieces, which I will enjoy listening to as someone unfamiliar with the style?
The answer to that includes some of my favourite 20th century pieces:
- Most things John Adams did in the 1980s, up to Nixon in China, which was his farewell to minimalism
- Philip Glass’ Akhnaten
- Steve Reich’s Tehilim
The problem with that is, you’re not really learning minimalism that way.
The right answer is to do what I did in my early 20s. Strap yourself in a chair, put on a true minimalist piece, and DO NOT MOVE until you get into it. The ones I used were:
- Steve Reich’s Violin Phase
- Philip Glass’ Einstein On The Beach
Even more basic than that, Steve Reich’s Clapping.
Noone here’s mentioning the Holy Minimalists, Pärt and Tavener. That’s probably right.
EDIT: No, Pärt’s been mentioned…