Sound of Listening is the production, sound design, teaching and artistic workspace of composer Michael Reiley McDermott.

Photo by James Falconi
Photo by James Falconi

Artist Statement

My sound art practice sits at the nexus between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. I have created works for video, dance, stage, installation, smart phones, multi-speaker arrays, wind sculptures, wishing wells and deep sleep.  My work integrates a daily practice of meditation, Deep Listening and textured sound worlds through a process called “sonic photography”. This process involves site specific recordings of physical spaces re-imagined using photographic development and collage techniques. My aim is to re-frame the everyday world as both a grand statement that stretches out in both directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. I have a special recent interest in presenting, preserving and contextualizing ecological sound environments. I’m currently working on a project of re-imagined voices of extinct animals using altered sounds of living animals and synthesized sounds.



Field Recording

Through my formal study of Deep Listening and meditation I’ve come to appreciate our connection through listening. Below are some recent works of environmental based sounds and field recording. Many of these work used a technique I’ve dubbed “sonic photography” where field recordings are formatted and treated using photographic processing techniques like double exposure, long exposure, collage, negative image and color treatments. Also many of these pieces have been featured on the great site Cities and Memory.


In our ever changing world of media interaction I have created sound environments, large and small, permanent and impermanent, structural and ephemeral. Below are some highlights:

Studio Albums

Purchase/Stream Albums


Music / Sound Design for Dance and Theater

I have created original scores, sound design and live improvised music for many choreographers and dance companies over the years. Some of my collaborators include Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Here Begin Dance, Gia T Presents, Jil Stifel, Perpetual Movement and Sound, Jaamil Kosoko, Erin Foreman-Murray and Ring Dance Theater.

Video and sound portfolio image from Ephemeral by Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet photo by Kaitlin Chow/ K Chow Studios. Dancers from left to right: Amy Novinski, Jessica Warchal-King, Sean Thomas Boyt, Adrianna de Svastich, Gina-marie Battista.

Music / Sound Design for Film and Video

Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of working as a film composer and sound designer for a wide range of films, videos and ads. Please get in touch if you’re a film maker or video artist looking to collaborate.

Still images for video and sound portfolio from PARISS by J. Louis Makary.


Recently I have been teaching and leading workshops in meditation, Deep Listening and sound design concepts. I was recently Artist in Residence at thefidget space and Composer in Residence for the BEEP Ensemble at Temple University.

Deep Listening

Through my current certification program at The Deep Listening Institute under the leadership of Pauline Oliveros I have begun leading Deep Listening workshops. I am currently leading a monthly Deep Listening study group in Philadelphia. Please get in touch if you’d like to join the group.


I am a practitioner of vipassana (insight) meditation. I am currently teaching beginners meditation, mindfulness, Buddhism and giving Dhamma talks at Springboard Sangha in Philadelphia.

Sonic Photography

Sonic Photography is a field recording / processing technique I have developed over the years. It involves the technical aspects of capturing sound environments, processing and presenting the sound moments in much the same way as a photographer would. I lead workshops in this area and available for one on one sessions.


Get in Touch