Pauline Oliveros

Photo by Becky Cohen

Pauline Oliveros at Cal State Sacramento
video by bcfaulkner on Youtube

Pauline Oliveros (1932) is a composer, performer, author and philosopher and has influenced American music extensively through her works with improvisation, electronic music, teaching, myth, ritual and meditation. She pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation designed to inspire both trained and untrained performers 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, aka Center for Contemporary Music followed by 14 years as Professor of Music and 3 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 Adaptive Use, Deep Listening and Publications. She is the first woman to receive the William Schuman Award from Columbia University. She will be honored with a three hour tribute concert at Miller Theater on March 27 2010 with her music ranging from 1960 to 2010.

Pauline Oliveros homepage
Deep Listening Institute

Tuning Meditation by Pauline Oliveros and her singers,
was performed at Elaine Summers' Crow's Nest, March 2010. This recording was made on March 18.

It was an emotionally evocative experience to hear approximately 40 singers communicate through pitch and tones.

The Tuning Meditation

Begin by taking a deep breath and letting it all the way out with air sound.
Listen with your mind's ear for a tone.

On the next breath using any vowel sound, sing the tone that you have silently perceived on one comfortable breath.

Listen to the whole field of sound the group is making.
Select a voice distant from you and tune as exactly as possible to the tone you are hearing from that voice.

Listen again to the whole field of sound the group is making.
Contribute by singing a new tone that no one else is singing.

Continue by listening then singing a tone of your own or tuning to the tone of another voice alternately.


Always keep the same tone for any single breath. Change to a new tone on another breath.
Listen for distant partners for tuning.
Sound your new tone so that it may be heard distantly.

Communicate with as many difference voices as possible.

Sing warmly!

Pauline Oliveros

© Copyright Deep Listening Publications 2007