Pauline Oliveros, Ione and Phil Dadson


Born in 1932, US composer Pauline Oliveros is a living legend having pioneered new ways of thinking about sound. A central figure in the post-war development of American minimalism, she workedalongside a core group of composers, including Steve Reich and Terry Riley, and in the late 1950s was one of the first US composers to work with electronic music. In performance, Oliveros uses an accordion, which has been re-tuned in two different systems of her just intonation, in addition to electronics, to alter the sound of the accordion and to explore the individual characteristics of each room.

As part of’s 2007 programme, Oliveros will be performing her seminal 1966 composition A Little Noise in the System, the first to use her Expanded Instrument System (EIS). She will also perform two more recent pieces with poet and vocal performer Ione, and will also be joined by one of New Zealand’s most respected senior sound artists, Phil Dadson. A Little Noise in the System introduced the EIS, a sort of live remix system using tape delays and patchbays at a time when there were no mixers available. The ratio of signal to noise was of great concern in analogue tape music so Oliveros chose to work with noise as signal, a move that now seems prescient in an era where noise is considered a genre in its own right and is the subject of much critical discussion in the area of experimental music and sound art.

Acclaimed internationally for four decades, Oliveros’ compositions, performances and innovations have already established her place in music history. Whether playing in an underground cavern or in the studios of West German Radio, her commitment to interaction with the moment is unchanged. She can make the sound of a sweeping siren into another instrument of the ensemble. Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations, Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance. This philosophy of Deep Listening, which she has developed throughout her career, begins with clarifying the distinction between hearing and listening, the former an involuntary response, the latter an engaged relationship with the audible world, which can then be channelled.

A 40 year retrospective, Sounding the Margins (as it was), will be released soon in a 6CD boxed set from Deep Listening. “Deep Listening® is listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, or one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds. Deep Listening represents a heightened state of awareness and connects to all that there is. As a composer I make my music through Deep Listening.”


Ione is a spoken word performer and sound artist who performs with Pauline Oliveros and other artists in the United States and internationally. A noted author, playwright and poet, her works include the critically acclaimed memoir, Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color. Ione is the Artistic Director of Deep Listening Institute Ltd.


Phil Dadson is an artist with an interdisciplinary practice including solo performances and exhibitions; building experimental instruments, video/sound installation, music composition and graphic scores, sound sculptures and improvisations on his invented instruments. He is the founder of New Zealand’s most original rhythm/performance group, From Scratch.

4 July 2007 – Auckland – The Herald Theatre
with: Phil Dadson.

START: WED 4 JULY 2007, 12:00 PM