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February 9, 2009

Pauline Oliveros

Professor Paulie Oliveros serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College and mentor in the Bard College summer MFA program. Pauline Oliveros is acclaimed internationally as a composer, performer and humanitarian. An important pioneer in American Music, she has explored sound for five decades, forging new ground for herself and others. Through improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation she has created a body of work with such breadth of vision that it profoundly affects those who experience it and eludes many who try to write about it.

Oliveros has been honored with awards, grants and concerts internationally. Whether performing at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., in an underground cavern, or in the studios of West German Radio, Oliveros' commitment to interaction with the moment is unchanged. Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance through listening. She can make the sound of a sweeping siren into another instrument of the ensemble. To make a pleasurable experience of this requires focus, concentrated, musicianship and strong improvisational skills, which are the hallmarks of Oliveros' form.

Pauline Oliveros is the author of four books, Initiation Dream, Software for People, The Roots of the Moment, and Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice.

In performance Oliveros plays an accordion that has been re-tuned in two different systems of just intonation. Additionally she uses electronics to alter the sound of the accordion and to incorporate and transform room acoustics.

Pauline Oliveros has built a loyal following in response to her many concerts, recordings, and publications. She has written numerous musical compositions for soloists and ensembles in music, dance, theater and inter-arts companies. She has also provided leadership within the music community.
She was the first Director of the Center for Contemporary Music (formerly the Tape Music Center at Mills College), and she was Director of the Center for Music Experiment during her 14 year tenure as professor of music at the University of California at San Diego. She frequently acted in an advisory capacity for organizations such as The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, and many private foundations.

Oliveros has been vocal about representing the needs of individual artists of all ages, about the need for diversity and experimentation in the arts, and promoting cooperation and good will among people.

A central figure in post-war electronic art music, Oliveros is one of the original members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which was the resource on the U.S. west coast for electronic music during the 1960s. The Center later moved to Mills College, where she was its first director, and is now called the Center for Contemporary Music. Oliveros often improvises with the Expanded Instrument System, an electronic signal processing system she designed, in her performances and recordings.

In 1967, Oliveros left Mills to take a faculty music department position at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).[1] While at UCSD, Oliveros met theoretical physicist and karate master Lester Ingber with whom she collaborated in defining the attentional process as applied to music listening.[2] Oliveros also studied karate under Ingber, achieving black belt level. In 1973, Oliveros conducted studies at UCSD's one-year-old Center for Music Experiment; she served as the Center's director from 1976 to 1979. In 1981, to escape creative constriction,[3] she left her tenured position at UCSD[4] and relocated to upstate New York to become an independent composer, performer and consultant.[4]

Oliveros coined the term "Deep Listening" in 1991,[1] a term which she then applied to her group The Deep Listening Band and to the Deep Listening program of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. (formerly The Pauline Oliveros Foundation), which she founded in 1985. The Deep Listening program includes annual listening retreats in Europe, New Mexico and in upstate New York, as well as apprenticeship and certification programs. The Deep Listening Band, which includes Oliveros, David Gamper, and Stuart Dempster, specializes in performing and recording in resonant or reverberant spaces such as caves, cathedrals and huge underground cisterns. They have collaborated with Ellen Fullman and her Long String Instrument, as well as countless other musicians, dancers, and performers.

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