Pauline Oliveros, Composer Who Championed ‘Deep Listening’

Pauline Oliveros, a composer whose life’s work aspired to enhance sensory perception through what she called “deep listening,” died on Thursday at her home in Kingston, N.Y. She was 84.

Her death was confirmed by her spouse, Carole Ione Lewis, a writer and performance artist known as Ione.

Early in her career in the 1960s, Ms. Oliveros avidly adopted cutting-edge technologies, working with magnetic tape and prototype synthesizers at the San Francisco Tape Music Center.

Already active as an improviser, she approached electronic music with a performer’s instincts; to make “Bye Bye Butterfly” (1965), which John Rockwell, The New York Times music critic, called “one of the most beautiful pieces of electronic music to emerge from the 60s,” she manipulated a recording of Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly” on a turntable, augmenting its sounds with oscillators and tape delay.

Read the rest of her obituary, written by Steve Smith, here.


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