Pauline Oliveros’s life’s work as a composer, performer, and humanitarian was about deepening her own and other people’s sensibilities to the facets of sound. She was mostly known as an electronic musician who played instruments, such as the accordion.

Oliveros went to attend Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, studying with musician Willard A. Palmer and earned a BA in Music Composition from San Francisco State.

Along with composers Ramon Sender and Morton Subotnick, Oliveros cofounded the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1961 and she became the director of the Center when it moved to Mills College in Oakland in the fall of 1966. She established a progressive, open-minded, creative vision for the Mills Tape Music Center, which was later renamed the Center for Contemporary Music.

When Oliveros turned 21, she obtained her first tape recorder, which she used to create her own pieces of tape music and it led to projects in the tape medium. Seeing the potential of tape as a medium, Oliveros was one of the original members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which became an important resource for electronic music on the West Coast during the 1960s. Oliveros often improvised in her recordings and performances with the Expanded Instrument System, a sound-processing system that she had designed.


  • I spend a lot of time at Mills College because that is where my friends are and my community is. Pauline Oliveros became the first director of the Mills Tape Music Center, which is amazing that a person who was so important to the electronic music industry worked at Mills College (5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94613). She made not only Mills College but also Oakland proud.

~ by Redeat Kibebew ~

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