Cel­e­brated com­poser Oliv­eros dies at 84

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Free­man staff

KINGSTON >> Pauline Oliv­eros, the in­ter­na­tion­ally cel­e­brated multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist, avant-garde com­poser, founder of the con­cept of ‘Deep Lis­ten­ing’ and a long­time city res­i­dent, died on Thurs­day. She was 84.

Oliv­eros was a pi­o­neer in elec­tronic mu­sic and a leader in con­tem­po­rary mu­sic with a broad range of ex­per­tise, in­clud­ing com­pos­ing, per­for­mance and teach­ing.

She was a con­stant lo­cal pres­ence, but her in­flu­ence was felt world­wide.

“Pauline loved Kingston, and was a guid­ing light for the arts,” Carol Ione Lewis, Oliv­eros’ spouse, said on Sun­day. “She led the way and cre­ated a world­wide com­mu­nity of artists who live in Kingston.”

Oliv­eros per­formed at Bard Col­lege in Septem­ber and at­tended the re­cent launch of the Mid­town Arts District in late Oc­to­ber. Some of her mu­sic was re­cently fea­tured in the doc­u­men­tary, “Lost Ron­d­out.”

Memo­ri­als were posted on so­cial me­dia from all over the mu­si­cal spec­trum, from friends and fans on her Face­book pro­file and on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, in­clud­ing from com­poser Laurie Spiegel and Moog Syn­the­siz­ers.

Her death was noted by NPR, Pitch­fork, Bill­board, SPIN, San Fran­cisco Gate and El Pais in Spain, among oth­ers.

In a 2005 in­ter­view with the Free­man, she de­scribed her found­ing con­cept of deep lis­ten­ing as “a process and prac­tice of ex­pand­ing in­clu­sive lis­ten­ing and in­ten­si­fy­ing exclusive lis­ten­ing. In­clu­sive lis­ten­ing may ex­tend to all wave forms that are pos­si­ble to per­ceive in the space/time con­tin­uum. Exclusive lis­ten­ing is at­ten­tion or fo­cus to de­tail. It is pos­si­ble to lis­ten in both ways si­mul­ta­ne­ously.”

In a 1989 Free­man in­ter­view, Oliv­eros ex­plained her unique view to­wards sound, which formed dur­ing her child­hood.

“It never seemed weird to me,” she said. “I am deeply in­ter­ested in what I hear. It doesn’t feel pe­cu­liar. But a lot of peo­ple have never been ex­posed to the no­tion that sound it­self is in­ter­est­ing. We’re all too busy try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate in ways that are di­rectly un­der­stand­able and ac­cept­able.”

She also dis­cussed the power of mu­sic.

“It cer­tainly can bring about re­lease; it can sur­prise you. That can be one of the ma­jor func­tions of mu­sic,” Oliv­eros said.

Born in Houston, she was a daugh­ter of the late John Oliv­eros and Edith Gu­tier­rez Oliv­eros.

She stud­ied com­po­si­tion at the Univer­sity of Houston, and later com­pleted her bach­e­lor’s de­gree at San Fran­cisco State.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Oliv­eros com­posed “Bye Bye But­ter­fly,” which was in­cluded in the New York Times’ Rock­well List of the 10 most sig­nif­i­cant mu­si­cal works of the 1960s — a time when she in­ten­si­fied her in­ter­est in dance the­ater, lit­er­ary and per­for­mance arts.

From 1967 to 1981, Oliv­eros taught at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia in San Diego, a job she left to move to the Hud­son Valley. In 1987, she moved to Kingston.

It was a move, Oliv­eros told the Free­man in a 2002

in­ter­view, that “shocked ev­ery­body. Here I was in San Diego, a paradise, and I re­signed,” she said.

Once in the Hud­son Valley, she dis­cov­ered “cre­ative en­ergy” in places like Karl Berger’s Cre­ative Mu­sic Stu­dio and Karma Triyana Dhar­ma­chakra, a Ti­betan Bud­dhist cen­ter, both in Wood­stock, as well as the Zen Moun­tain Cen­ter in Mount Trem­per.

In 1985, Oliv­eros founded the Pauline Oliv­eros Foun­da­tion, which changed its name to the Deep Lis­ten­ing In­sti­tute in 2005.

For­merly based in Kingston’s Ron­d­out district, it later moved to the Shirt Fac­tory at 77 Cor­nell St. in Mid­town Kingston. In 2015, the in­sti­tute moved to the Rens­se­laer Polytech­nic In­sti­tute in Troy, where it’s now known as the Cen­ter For Deep Lis­ten­ing.

In her 1989 Free­man in­ter­view, Oliv­eros said she cre­ated the foun­da­tion to sup­port projects by artists

who chal­lenge no­tions of what art and mu­sic is.

“We pro­vide ad­min­is­tra­tive and tech­ni­cal sup­port for artists who are walk­ing along the edge, try­ing to take some risks and chances,” she said.

Oliv­eros served as pro­fes­sor of mu­sic at RPI and as a part-time in­struc­tor at Bard Col­lege in An­nan­dale-on-Hud­son. At Bard, her mu­sic was hon­ored in a con­cert in Septem­ber that fea­tured mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Con­tem­po­rary En­sem­ble.

She also taught at Mills Col­lege in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia and Ober­lin Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic at Ober­lin Col­lege in Ohio.

Oliv­eros is sur­vived by three chil­dren, Alessan­dro Bovoso of Phoenix, Ari­zona, Nico Bovoso of Berkley, Cal­i­for­nia, An­to­nio Bovoso of Ac­ton, Mas­sachusetts; and a brother, John Oliv­eros and his wife Min­nie of Florida. Eight grand­chil­dren and one niece, Daisy Night­en­gale, also sur­vive.

Fu­neral ar­range­ments are be­ing han­dled by Simp­son-Gaus Fu­neral Home, 411 Al­bany Ave., Kingston.


Pauline Oliv­eros in her Kingston stu­dio in July 2002.

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