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Member Details

Kimberly A. McCarthy

Chicago, Illinois
United States

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Kim McCarthy knows something about creativity especially creativity as a way of life, a kind of life improvisation so-to-speak. Creative people see the world=s biggest problems as the beginnings of everyday solutions. Creative people figure a way to eliminate the need for walls. Creative people build better bridges. When everybody else puzzles "what?" creative people are already working.

McCarthy grew up in Los Angeles during “Duck and Cover,” the "Age of Aquarius," LSD, and consciousness-raising. The seeds of social activism first met the sun (7th grade) when she joined the protest movement for the rights of girls to wear pants to school. We won’t talk about high school. Her parents were “kind-of-political activists” introducing her to the great wealth of diversity. All kinds. Raised on George Shearing and Pink Floyd and Motown, on polyester "hot pants" and riots, on acid posters and Disneyland. It was the time of "The Pill," Viet Nam, “Panama Red” and group marriage. She’s been a step-child seven-times, including #3 a second time. This led to the study of music and psychology. Why? Who knows. Just a mindless mindful kind of improvisation. Now this led to practicing shamanism, Lakota and African forms. She can thank Pauline Oliveros and Russia for that.

Kim earned a Ph.D. in Psychology and an M.M. in Music Composition (University of Oregon). She is certified in Deep Listening@; research areas include improvisation. Creativity is her area of expertise. For her dissertation she studied the process of novel ideation, tons of different theories. They didn’t agree. The arguments were sound and the evidence strong. So what if they were all accurate? She conducted a theoretical analysis using Connectionism and Quantum Physics. Quantum Physics won. Via the coherent superposition. Not to mention the uncertainty principle.

Improvisation is filled with uncertainty. One might say until sound is played it lives as coherent superposition states, as infinite wavicles of sound. What happens among the infinity of sounds, between the listening, imagining and sounding? This is the trackless roller coaster ride for those who improvise, traveling between soul, mind, body and spirit. That’s pretty deep. Which by the way, she found these really great MP3 swim goggles. The music sounds fantastic underwater.


· composer
· researcher
· educator


· presentations
· residencies
· clinics