RTV: Pauline Oliveros

Release Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pauline Oliveros performs Pauline’s Solo, a 20-minute free improvisation on her accordion, and discusses her method of Deep Listening.

Pauline’s Solo consists of fleeting melodic gestures over sustained harmonies, like spontaneous thoughts suddenly flashing across quiescent synaptic networks. During the interview, she explains the concept of Deep Listening, which she has been practicing for nearly 50 years, and her study of karate and quantum mechanics in relation to that of music.

Aired on rTV: 2001
Performance date: 12/13/1991
Episode release date: 05/21/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley
Directed by Matt Mehlan
Edited by Wolfgang Daniel


Pauline Oliveros, composer, performer, and humanitarian, was an important pioneer in American Music. Acclaimed internationally, for four decades, she has explored sound — forging new ground for herself and others. Through improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, she 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. “On some level, music, sound consciousness and religion are all one, and she would seem to be very close to that level,” stated John Rockwell. Oliveros was 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 a West German radio station, Oliveros’ commitment to interaction with the moment was unchanged. Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations, Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance. To make a pleasurable experience of this concept required focused concentration, skilled musicianship and strong improvisational skills, which were the hallmarks of Oliveros’ form. In performance, Oliveros used an accordion which has been re-tuned in two different systems of her just intonation in addition to electronics to alter the sound of the accordion and to explore the individual characteristics of each room.