Deep Listening

It's Telematic: Pauline Oliveros performs live in Houston with musicians in Bogotá & San Diego

It's Telematic: Pauline Oliveros performs live in Houston with musicians in Bogotá & San Diego

When legendary experimental composer and accordionist Pauline Oliveros joins her fellow performers on stage for this weekend's "Live Telematic Trio" at Rice University, those not in the know might be in for a treat.

The musical improvisations of her renowned partners Ricardo Arias and Chris Chafe certainly will be seen and heard; they'll just be playing from thier respective performance spaces in Bogotá and San Diego.

Oliveros has experimented with sound for more than six decades, the last two of which she's worked with telematic performance, a live collaborative technique linking performers in two or more locations by way of the telephones, computers, or any other form of electronic communication.

On Saturday, Oliveros performs in Houston on accordion, as Arias and Chafe join her live on screen using technology from research collective Internet2. "Live Telematic Trio" marks Oliveros' fifth concert with Nameless Sound, the Houston-based organization started by musician David Dove as a branch of her non-profit music education group, the Deep Listening Institute.

On her way from a seminar on music improvisation at University of California Riverside, Oliveros spoke with CultureMap via telephone during her layover at Chicago's Midway Airport.

"I've been working with telematic performance for quite a while, ever since 1990 and I've gone through a number of different technologies to do this," she said. "Through the years I've established contact with lots of people who've worked on telematic performance as well. David Dove and I decided to stage the event in Houston to celebrate Nameless Sound's anniversary."

 "[In the early 1980s], experimental music was something like the Occupy movement," she said. "There were people who had interests that weren’t being met by established organizations, but by pulling together a network, they began to make things happen."

 A Houston native and Moores School of Music graduate, Oliveros' long career in music began to materialize after moving to northern California in 1952. A pioneering electronic musician and founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center throughout the 1960s, she has dedicated her decades of work to the exploration of sound through improvisational performance, education, and emerging technologies.

Oliveros spoke about the importance of forging lasting connections in the relatively small experimental music scene, and how events like the New Music America annual festival — which ran through the 1980s — have shaped the international contemporary music scene organizations like Nameless Sound continue to mold.

"Gatherings like New Music America were a very important development in new music. Before that, musicians were working in isolation all across America, in a vacuum, so to speak. Once the networking started, it became amazing."

With the rise of the Internet throughout the 1990s, of course, the distance between these existing networks of musicians no longer hindered creative communication. By the 2000s, communication could develop into collaboration as digital interaction became more instantaneous and accessible.

"[In the early 1980s], experimental music was something like the Occupy movement," she said. "There were people who had interests that weren’t being met by established organizations, but by pulling together a network, they began to make things happen."

"I’m going to the Art Guys ceremony at The Menil Collection," she said. "I have a long connection with [Art Guy] Michael Galbreth. He was an assistant for me when I did New Music America in Houston in 1986."

"I even made a piece for them for a CD they put out in 2008," she laughed. "It was called ‘The Eyes of Taxes Are Upon You.’"

Pauline Oliveros performs Saturday at the Wortham Opera Theatre in Rice University's Shepherd School of Music with Ricardo Arias and Chris Chafe, who will play from Bogotá and San Diego respectively.

This "Live Telematic Trio" is presented by Houston music non-profit Nameless Sound and Rice University's electronic music project REMLABS.