two excerpts from an essay written nov 1995 by pauline oliveros copyright 293w essay which I wrote in Mexico. It has been traveling the INTERNET especially on the IAWM listserv .

Robert Erickson was my principal composition teacher from 1954-60 and my professional mentor. His teaching was notable for supporting me to work in my own way as he did with all his students. His attitude in teaching composition was devoid of sexism or racism. He was ethical. His delight was helping others to be creative and professional in composition what ever the style. Erickson was skillful in drawing out the best abilities of his student's. He was tireless in his investigation of music and had a wealth of advice and pointers to relevant musical resources - always useful and specific. His guidance was invaluable to me and to my peers (all male). None of us sounded alike in our compositions even though we liked and admired each other's work.


When I began to compose in 1951 there were other women in my first composition class at the University of Houston. In the next class at San Francisco State College there was one other woman out of twenty five. None of the women from that period are visible as composers today. Generally during the fifties and sixties my experience was to be the only woman interested in composing or in other activities dominated by men. Fortunately for me my male peers were supportive if unconscious of their bonding habits. The Women's Movement did not surface until the seventies. I often felt like the solo fish swimming opposite the group - a feeling with me since childhood. When the group turned to swim in my direction I was delighted to have some company.