Threnody for the Hieroglyphic Cicada, 26 January, 2018, 6pm
St Catharine’s College Chapel, Cambridge (workshop open to all at 4pm)
This programme commemorates the life and work of the American composer, performer, activist, and visionary Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016), whose music has the power to free us from the sociopolitical forces that limit our sensory perception of the world. A rare woman among the predominantly male cohort of American composers born in the 1930s, Pauline Oliveros shared many interests of the 1960s ‘New York School’. She celebrated the sounds considered marginal by others, coining the term ‘Deep Listening’ to describe what it meant to listen ‘in every possible way to every thing possible to hear no matter what you are doing’. ‘As a musician, I am interested in the sensual nature of sound, its power of synchronization, coordination, release and change … Deep Listening represents a heightened state of awareness and connects to all that there is’. Oliveros was an avant-garde pioneer of electronics, meditative music, improvisation, alternate tuning systems, contemporary accordion playing, and multimedia events. Her work with myth, ritual, and the environment has had a profound influence. ‘Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears’. For Oliveros, the creation of sounds was a means of communicating with and through the environment.
The Vocal Constructivists are joined for this event by Swiss accordionist and long-standing Oliveros collaborator Margrit Schenker and London-based accordionist Matt Scott, as well as the composer and bassist Christopher Williams, whose piece Thank You will receive its world premiere.