To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation

In 1970, Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) wrote an orchestral score titled To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation. Created in the after-shock of the political upheavals of 1968, and after having read the radical feminist text “Scum Manifesto”, Oliveros’ score imagined a “continuous circulation of power” enacted through performance. The piece marked the beginning of her turn away from the hierarchical tendencies of contemporary classical music and towards a practice that she would continue to develop throughout her life that she called Deep Listening.

Scored for coloured light and any number of musicians, this influential and celebrated work is the subject of Public Recordings next major site-specific performance. Asking, in Oliveros’ words, “How do you go beyond what you know how to do?” Public Recordings has assembled an experimental orchestra of musicians and non-musicians to learn this piece together, through a series of public rehearsals in different locations around Toronto. This process will culminate in a free, one-time-only performance in Toronto’s City Hall’s Council Chambers.

Project initiated by Christopher Willes. Contributing artists: Anne Bourne, Allison Cameron, Victoria Cheong, Ishan Davé, Prices Easy, Ellen Furey, Thom Gill, Claire Harvie, Ame Henderson, Brendan Jensen, Germaine Liu, Bee Pallomina, Liz Peterson, Heather Saumer, Brian Solomon, Anni Spadafora, Evan Webber, Christopher Willes and others. Rehearsal direction: Kate Nankervis.

Produced by Public Recordings and Christopher Willes. Developed with support from Happy like a flower, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Feminist Art Museum, the Gardiner Museum, and Artscape Gibraltar Point. Performed courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust. Published by Smith Publications 1973.

Toronto 2019 presentation developed in partnership with: The Music GalleryA Different Booklist; Art Metropole; Colour Code PrintingCentre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at U of T; University of Toronto Visual Studies; University of Toronto Faculty of Music; OCADU Cross-Disciplinary Art Practices and the Faculty of Art.

Photographs by Yuula Benivolski
Music / Performance
Upcoming Presentation
Publication coming in 2020
Past Presentations

Council Chambers – Toronto City Hall, OCADU, and University of Toronto. Presented by The Music Gallery. February 13-17,  2019
Development residency at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto. Curated by the Feminist Art Museum. August 12-17, 2017