Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros to join Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame

American composer, musician and teacher was Distinguished Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy

KINGSTON—To hear and to listen are two different things. American composer and accordionist, Pauline Oliveros understood this. 

Her ability to take things deeper, and further, lands her a spot in the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame. The sixth inductee class will be honored March 25 at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs.

During her life, Oliveros constantly questioned what it meant to really listen, and from this came something more–Deep Listening. Known for her works in composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics, she passed away in 2016 at age 84.

“Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening,” Oliveros had said.

Oliveros described Deep Listening as a way of 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, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds.

Oliveros’s wife Ione Carole Lewis described her as, “intense, with a very, very strong intention to create the music that she wanted to create. Pauline was renowned for adopting cutting-edge technology use in her music.”     

Her practice of profound sonic awareness came from her childhood fascination with all the sounds around her. Born in Houston and raised by her mother and grandmother, both music teachers, Oliveros wondered what she might not be hearing.

She learned to play the accordion and when Oliveros grew too big for her pond in Houston she relocated to San Francisco during a pivotal time in music, and the world. She spent many years teaching and performing in the Bay Area and was deeply impacted by the protests and activism around her. 

During this time, Oliveros-along with her community at the University of California-started “to experiment and use their voices and pay attention to their dreams, their journals, the concept of being together.”

“She really inaugurated some practices that had never been considered to be valid by others,” Lewis said.

Oliveros created the Pauline Oliveros Foundation in 1985, which would become the Deep Listening Institute in 1988. The center would go on to live at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she became a Distinguished Research Professor of Music in 2001.

“[Pauline] transformed the way a lot of people were connecting to music,” Lewis recalled. 

The inductee ceremony is open to the public and includes musical performances, a social hour, videos on the musical career of each inductee and acceptance speeches. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at Proctors in-person, via phone at (518) 346-6204 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday or online by visiting

Universal Preservation Hall and Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame are a part of Proctors Collaborative. For more information on the Hall of Fame visit