When composer and performer Pauline Oliveros died in 2016 at the age of 84, her reputation in music was solid.
Her early electronic and tape music work in the 1960s and 70s is widely regarded as a key contribution to post-World War II American experimentalism. Deceived Digital Her Oliveros solo her show on her accordion was a destination her concerts in New York spaces like Stone until the 2010s. And the influence of her writing on the topic of “deep listening” took root at the Academy.
However, at the time of her death, Oliveros had never received a formal showcase of her work at Carnegie Hall. When I started planning the first show of my residency there, the corrective action seemed obvious and premature.
On Saturday, Chase will present a program called “Pauline Oliveros at 90,” followed by two “Day of Listening” events the following morning and afternoon. “I wanted to give a megaphone to the woman who made our musical lives possible,” Chase said.
She was talking about a wide network of players who drew inspiration from Oliveros’ example, but also about a particular core of artists she described as the composer’s “musical descendants.” They will share the stage at Saturday’s concert. This is a program of two Oliveros text scores, ‘Witness’ and ‘Tuning Meditation’.
At Wednesday’s rehearsal for “The Witness,” Chase and her pals navigated the three “strategies” outlined by Oliveros’ score, to fascinating effect. In the first section, performers are asked to play only what comes from their imagination, regardless of what else they hear in the room. Chase described it as “the opposite of comfort meditation.”
In the second strategy, they are instructed to interact with each other as spontaneously as possible. A third, highly idealistic strategy then asks the musician to play “inside time, exactly in time, or out of time” of the partner’s performance. Chase said that when he once asked Oliveros what it meant, he was told it was merely an invitation to telepathy.
On Sundays, audiences are invited to use their own voices, slide whistles, and adaptive-use instrumental techniques developed by Oliveros to assist children with limited range of motion in making music. You can participate in the jamboree.
Oliveros’ widow and longtime collaborator, artist Ione, said the technology was designed for “the least athletic” kids, but is “great for everyone.” This crossover his application is part of his Oliveros legacy for Ione. Pauline was serious, playful and fun at the same time. “
In an interview, four musicians who performed at this weekend’s concert shared their memories of Oliveros and her music. Below is an edited excerpt of the conversation.
Claire Chase, flutist
I met Pauline when I was a toddler. I have beautiful memories of her playing the accordion – often barefoot – at concerts at the University of California, San Diego. She was freer and freer than anyone I have ever met.
I met her again in the late 1990s, when she was a visiting artist at Oberlin College, where I was an undergraduate. We were all on the treadmill towards what we thought would be a career in a symphony orchestra. She asked — I have to do it with her Texas drawl — “Do you hear beyond the limits of your own imagination?” . It was like the walls had completely melted. I was completely elated and horrified and suddenly began to wonder what else I hadn’t learned at the conservatory.
Susie Ibarra, composer and percussionist
Pauline’s music has quite an array between what she later produced for large ensembles and what she recorded solo earlier. And her text score. There are many entry points. I love them all for different reasons.
I am very sentimental about coming to celebrate her at Carnegie Hall. It is a practice of rhythm and texture without repetition. She has always been a great inspiration and a mentor to provide such support, she went into the studio and recorded a duet but never released it. Sure I was busy, but she was very busy towards the end.
I have been very lucky to play a lot with Pauline as an improviser. And then there was a quintet called New Circle Five, which recorded one album, Dreaming Wide Awake. She was very playful. Especially when she had a digital accordion. I didn’t know which “instrument” would come out. It was a constant surprise.
pianist Alex Bae
My entry into contemporary music was really social. I am a piano professor. But I am Phyllis Chen and dear friends — and when we did her residency at SUNY New Paltz, Pauline came down, she enthralled her students with her “Sonic Meditations.” I was allowed to. That’s when I started doing a lot of contemporary music.
I played with Claire on Susie’s album “Talking Gong”. After doing the online release, we had some time. We were in the barn up north and Claire was like, ‘Let’s jam’. So he read “Witness” and it all started there. Then I started improvising in the woods of the Mill Brook Preserve. Seeking inspiration, I did it in a cave. This was during a pandemic. We were all frayed and flustered. And now it is spun into this.
Since then, I have explored piano styles all over the world. I have done a lot of work on the Myanmar piano tradition. I do a lot of work with Persian pianos. Playing “The Witness” facilitated this. Before that, I was only playing standard songs. I met Pauline and unleashed my curiosity. She gives permission to explore.
Tyshawn Sorey, composer and percussionist
My work “Bertha’s Lair” was commissioned for Claire’s Density 2036 project. Then, on the day the piece was scheduled to be rehearsed, and the day it was completed, I went to the studio to rehearse. Within five minutes of arriving there, I heard the news that Pauline had died. we didn’t even play. We talked about Pauline all night long.
When I finally rehearsed the song and played it dozens of times, it came down to my interpretation of the music. It was different every time. Yet Pauline’s spirit always remained with us and kept us both taking our chances.
Speaking of Pauline’s ethos, it’s about this openness and trust. It becomes this through making music and being always present. Whatever her particular score says, it certainly requires a different kind of awareness on the part of the performer to be able to do it. will be placed in place.