The Center For Deep Listening

Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)

Through Pauline Oliveros and Deep Listening I finally know what harmony is... It's about the pleasure of making music. 

-- John Cage

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.

Oliveros was Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College. She founded "Deep Listening ®," which came from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics. 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.  Her creative work is currently disseminated through The Pauline Oliveros Trust and the Ministry of Maåt, Inc at PoP+MoM Publications.



Selected writings by and about Pauline Oliveros


Pauline Oliveros NYT Article
“And Don’t Call them Lady Composers” by Pauline Oliveros. New York Times, September 1970.
“Pauline Oliveros, composer who championed ‘Deep Listening,’ dies at 84” by Steve Smith. The New York Times, November 1984.
“Quantum Listening: From Practice to Theory (To Practice Practice)” by Pauline Oliveros. SoundArtArchive, December 1999.
“Letters of Recommendation: The Recordings of Pauline Oliveros” by Claire-Louise Bennett. The New York Times, February 2017.
“Listening as Activism: The Sonic Meditations of Pauline Oliveros” by Kerry O’Brien. The New Yorker, December 2016.
“Interview with Pauline Oliveros on 80th birthday celebration and John Cage centennial” by Joshua Kosman. SF Gate, October 2012.