Inside Rensselaer
Arts Professor Leads Musical  Performance of More Than 1,000 Voices
* Pauline Oliveros

A score composed by Distinguished Professor of the Arts Pauline Oliveros was recently performed by more than 1,000 voices in an event called “The World Wide Tuning Meditation” held in New York City’s Damrosch Park.

Oliveros said participants made “clouds and clusters of sounds” by following her musical composition, which included no notes or lyrics, only written directions such as “begin by taking a deep breath and letting it all the way out with air sound” and “select a voice distant from you and tune as exactly as possible to the tone you are hearing from that voice.”

Voices in New York City blended together with a broadcast of voices from eight additional locations around the world, including California, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Each participant sang the same score in their own tone, in an event Oliveros called an “interactive ‘sound-a-long’ in which the audience became the instrument.”

Anyone was invited to join in the World Wide Tuning Meditation free of charge, and no experience was necessary.

“I felt this [performance] was a ‘sonic gesture of peace,’” said Oliveros. “The World Wide Tuning Meditation is a way to bring people together for a common purpose — to create music with peaceful intention.”

The event was held in cooperation with Oliveros’ Deep Listening Institute — an organization that fosters a unique approach to music, literature, art, and meditation, and promotes innovation among artists and audience — and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Center’s series of outdoor summer events.

Oliveros is widely known for her research in “deep listening,” a practice she created to enhance and expand individuals’ listening abilities and to encourage creative work. She has hosted deep listening retreats every summer for the last 17 years and hundreds of deep listening workshops all over the world.

Nearly 300 Rensselaer undergraduate students enroll in her Deep Listening course every year.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 1, Number 4, September 27, 2007
©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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