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Composer: Oliveros, Pauline (b. 1932)

Fact file
Year of birth1932
NationalityUnited States
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Pauline Oliveros and ICE collaboration

Pauline Oliveros © Vinciane Verguethen
Such careful conveyance from both performers and composer fostered the sort of “deep listening” Pauline Oliveros has encouraged throughout her decades-long career.
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Mostly Mozart Festival: Pauline Oliveros at 80 with the International Contemporary Ensemble

It is difficult to write comparatively about Pauline Oliveros’ music. Typically, when listening to new music, the ear begins to chart differences and repetitions, and the way these are structured with dynamics, pitch, and texture.
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You can read our October 2013 interview with Pauline Oliveros here.

Pauline Oliveros (1932) has influenced American music extensively in her career spanning more than 60 years as a composer, performer, author and philosopher. Recently awarded the John Cage award for 2012 from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, she pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, her practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, designed to inspire both trained and untrained musicians to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations. During the mid-60s she served as the first director of the Tape Music Center at Mills College, a.k.a. Center for Contemporary Music, and this was followed by fourteen years as Professor of Music and three years as Director of the Center for Music Experiment at the University of California at San Diego.

Since 2001 she has served as Distinguished Research Professor of Music in the Arts department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where she is engaged in research on a National Science Foundation CreativeIT project.

Her research interests include improvisation, special needs interfaces and telepresence teaching and performing. She also serves as Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College doing telepresence teaching and she is executive director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd., where she leads projects in Deep Listening, Adaptive Use Interface. She is the recipient of the 2009 William Schuman Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement.

A retrospective from 1960 to 2010 was performed at Miller Theater, Columbia University in New York, 27 March, 2010, in conjunction with the Schuman award. She received a third honorary degree from DeMontort University, Leicester, UK, 23 July, 2010.