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Nameless Sound was established in 2001 to present the best of international contemporary music and to support the exploration of new methods in arts education

Nameless Sound presents concerts by premier artists in the world of creative music. In addition, Nameless Sound artists work directly with students from Houston’s public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters. Nameless Sound’s educational work helps to nurture a new generation of artists and inspire tomorrow’s creative thinkers

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Arts Houston

Nameless Sound

Birthday Celebration and Memorial for
Pauline Oliveros
Joe McPhee and the Nameless Sound Ensembles

Pauline Oliveros

  1900 Kane Street, Houston, TX 77007

  Saturday May 27, 2017

Nameless Sound closes its 15th season with two concerts of special significance.
Please click here for information about Joe McPhee's Survival Unit III concert on Wednesday, May 24th.
- Discounted tickets for both nights below -


$13 General Admission | $10 student | FREE under 18
Tickets to both this concert and Joe McPhee's SUIII: $20

Birthday Celebration and Memorial for Pauline Oliveros (May 30, 1932 - November 24, 2016) featuring:
  • Deep Listening Space Time Continuum written and performed by Joe McPhee
  • Scores by Pauline Oliveros performed by the Nameless Sound Ensembles

The Inner-Outer Sound Matrix (2007) – Pauline Oliveros
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (1981) – Pauline Oliveros

performed by
A Nameless Sound Ensemble
Tom Carter (Houston, TX) - guitar
Ryan Edwards (Houston, TX) – violin, voice
Sonia Flores (Houston, TX) – double bass, voice
Justin Jones (Houston, TX) - voice
Rose Lange (Houston, TX) – violin, voice
Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud (Houston, TX) – voice
Alauna Rubin (Houston, TX) – clarinet, voice

Wind Horse  (1990) – Pauline Oliveros
Exchanges (1979) – Pauline Oliveros

performed by
A Nameless Sound Ensemble
David Dove (Houston, TX) – trombone
Juan García (México) – double bass
Lisa Harris (Houston, TX) – voice
Jason Jackson (Houston, TX) - saxophones
Rebecca Novak (Houston, TX) – piano, cornet, objects
Jawwaad Taylor (Houston, TX) - trumpet
Joe Wozny (Houston, TX) - guitar

Deep Listening Spacetime Continuum  (2017)– Joe McPhee
performed by
Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie, NY) – trumpet, saxophone trombone , didgeridoo, audio recording
with David Dove (Houston, TX) - trombone

Last year on Thanksgiving Day, the great composer, accordionist, philosopher, writer, humanitarian and native-Houstonian Pauline Oliveros died in her sleep.  She was the mentor of many of the staff, artists and students of Nameless Sound. She was the mentor of the organization itself, which began in 2001 as a branch of The Pauline Oliveros Foundation. The writing below is an excerpt of Nameless Sound Founder David Dove’s remembrance of Oliveros, published in the Free Press Houston in December 2016. The whole piece can be read here: http://www.freepresshouston.com/deeply-listening-david-dove-on-pauline-oliveros/

Houston, you may not know this, but Pauline Oliveros is probably the most innovative experimental artist to ever have come from your city. She’s likely the most influential as well. Her impact was both deep and wide ranging, as she was persistent in a vision that touched on so many various aspects of experimental arts, contemporary artistic practice and avant-garde music. Her influence is felt profoundly in her direct engagement with people and communities, as well as in her body of work.

A few of her many important contributions:

- In the early 1960’s, Pauline was key in the development of the first electronic music studio on the West Coast. Her early electronic pieces, which used magnetic tape, oscillators, turntables and other appropriated technology (as well as prototype synthesizers), are foundational in the field. And they’re heavy! (I know a lot of noise people who really love these works.)

- Her Sonic Meditations, originally composed in the early 1970’s for an ensemble of women, which included both musicians and non-musicians, are still widely employed as the basis for community workshops. They are as simple and challenging for the musical virtuoso as they are for the non-musician. Avant-garde movements have seen several major efforts toward accessibility and inclusion in music making. No efforts have been as radical and sustained as Pauline’s. “All societies admit the power of music or sound. Attempts to control what is heard in the community are universal. Sonic Meditations are an attempt to return the control of sound to the individual alone, and within groups especially for humanitarian purposes; specifically healing.”

- Pauline was key to the growth and success of important experimental music programs at three major institutions of higher learning. Earlier in her career, she helped develop programs at Mills College and University of California at San Diego. Most recently, she held a post at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she founded The Deep Listening Center. These are three of only about six programs in the US where one can focus on this type of work. She did all of this without ever having earned an advanced degree herself.

- Her understanding and employment of acoustics was virtuosic and unequalled. In performance, her accordion could send sounds in any direction, and shape them in a range of resonances. She was a master with the way sounds move in space. This skill famously led her to recordings in unusual locations such as caves and underground cisterns. It led her to develop the Expanded Instrument System, a multichannel surround sound system that could be used to move electronic sounds through space in an improvisational performance. Among the enthusiasms of her later period were her live improvisations involving collaborators in different countries, performing together through high-speed audio and video internet feeds. She had an appreciation of space that included the acoustic, the electric and the virtual.

- Through her retreats, her teaching, her mentoring and her Deep Listening Institute, she nurtured whole communities. Without question, Nameless Sound here in Houston would never have existed without her guidance, encouragement and supervision. We are only one effort among many worldwide.

- One of her last great efforts was Adaptive Use Musical Instruments, technology that allowed people with severe immobility and disabilities (such as cerebral palsy) to improvise electronic music using only the movements of their eyes.

All of these accomplishments and more fell under her well-known philosophy and practice of Deep Listening, which she defined as "listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing". Among other implications, Deep Listening is a basic practical exercise in inclusivity.  It connects such a wide ranging body of work that features so many varied and distinctly ground-breaking and radical activities, including innovations in electronic music, community organizing, clearly articulated and poetic text scores, feminism, etc.

She’s your native daughter, Houston. Her music carried the droning and chirping communication of your cicadas and frogs. Her accordion playing had its roots in your ethnic traditions, as well as roots in the little known history of University of Houston’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical accordion performance.  Her warmly expressed, but sometimes pointed, humor was told in the gentle drawl that we know well. The unhurried, elastic sense of time that her music so profoundly inhabited is familiar to our ears, across the lines of our region’s various musical genres.

Thank you Houston, for introducing me to Pauline Oliveros. Thank you Pauline for everything. You are deeply missed, and I am deeply listening.


Pauline Oliveros

Joe McPhee