Pauline Oliveros’ life as a composer, performer and humanitarian was about opening her own and others’ sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Her career spanned fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. In the ’50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets gathered together in San Francisco. In the 1960’s she influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual.
She was the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates and among her many recent awards were the William Schuman Award for Lifetime Achievement, Columbia University, New York, NY,The Giga-Hertz-Award for Lifetime Achievement in Electronic Music from ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany and The John Cage award from from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts.
Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations, Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance. She described Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds.
‘Deep Listening is my life practice,” Oliveros explained, simply. Oliveros founded Deep Listening Institute, formerly Pauline Oliveros Foundation, now the Center For Deep Listening at Rensselaer, Troy, NY.