October 7, 2009 Music and the Brain Series Returns to the Library of Congress

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Anne McLean (202) 707-8432

Music across cultures, the relationship of music to spirituality, music’s affect on our health and well-being, and music as a new tool in fighting the deterioration of the aging brain and promoting mental fitness—these are all themes explored in the Library’s popular Music and the Brain series. Programming continues this season with an expanded roster of thought-provoking events, including 12 lectures, a special panel on music and grief, four onstage interviews with artists, a stress reduction workshop using music therapy techniques and a mini-series offering composer documentaries by the Dutch filmmaker Frank Scheffer.

Presented by the Library’s Music Division and Science, Technology and Business Division, the free series is made possible through the generosity of the Dana Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the American Music Therapy Association. Project chair for the series is Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center.

For program details and updates, see www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/0910-brain.html. Events in the series, including 2008-2009 events, will be available as podcasts and webcasts at www.loc.gov and through iTunes and YouTube.

All events are presented at 6:15 p.m. in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C., unless otherwise noted. Tickets are not required, but seating is limited.

Friday, Oct. 16
"Beethoven's Deafness: A Medical Mystery"

CANCELED due to speaker illness. Will be rescheduled in 2010.

Charles J. Limb, M.D., associate professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven are widely regarded as seminal masterpieces that changed not only the course of musical history but also human history more broadly. The tremendous impact of his musical output is even more striking in the context of the composer's well-known hearing loss. Despite recent advances in medical understanding, however, the cause of Beethoven's deafness remains a mystery. Limb discusses its effect in the context of medical diagnoses based on modern otologic principles. Recent data, including analyses of Beethoven's hair, will also be discussed as part of this investigative study of one of the great mysteries of classical music.

Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium
"Music and Grief"

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, The Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center
Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean, The Juilliard School
Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Henry Phipps Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and psychiatrist-in-chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Project chair Kay Redfield Jamison invites two distinguished colleagues for a special presentation centered on music and the experience and expression of grief. A discussion of the distinctions between grief and depression, the consolations of music and literature, and crosscurrents related to arts and the brain is followed by a booksigning of Jamison’s new book, "Nothing Was the Same."

Friday, Oct. 30, Montpelier Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E.
"Wednesday is Indigo Blue: How Synesthesia Speaks to Creativity"
Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, George Washington Medical Center
Neurologist Richard Cytowic rediscovered the involuntary joining of different senses in 1980 and returned it to the scientific mainstream. In his recent book, "Wednesday is Indigo Blue," Cytowic sums up 30 years of exploration into synesthesia's place in both science and art. Far from a mere curiosity, it is an elevated form of the perception everyone already has. Minds that function differently are not so strange after all, and everyone can learn from them. Brains are already highly cross-wired, and with 1 in 23 people having the trait, synesthesia may hold a key to human creativity. Book signing follows the presentation.

Friday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium
"One Minute More"

Guy Livingston
Pianist Guy Livingston performs 60 one-minute compositions, "a microcosm of the very newest music," each paired with a custom-composed film. In a post-concert talk, Livingston will talk about the mental velocity and versatility required for this performance and questions about the perception of tempo and time.

Tuesday, Nov. 3
"Trance Formation: Music, Trance, Religious Experience and the Brain"

Dr. Robin Sylvan, director of The Sacred Center, El Cerrito, Calif.
Music is one of the most universal and powerful tools for inducing trance states and triggering religious experiences. Sylvan examines the relationship between music, trance and religious experience in a number of different religious and musical cultures; identifies key features of this phenomenon; and explores recent brain science research that confirms the “trance forming” power of music. Sylvan also presents material from a groundbreaking study he is conducting on this subject for the Templeton Advanced Research Program with neuroscientist Petr Janata of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis.

Friday, Nov. 6
"Dangerous Music III: Suckers, Firestarters and Cultural Anarchists, Oh My!"

Norman Middleton, Music Division
Jessica Krash, George Washington University
Norman Middleton and Jessica Krash discuss "dangerous classical music" and marketing, examine the relation between high art and popular art and the mental and emotional intensity of classical music, and journey to the dark side with a discussion of arson and murder associated with heavy metal music and the highly controversial and contemporary issue of music and torture.

Saturday, Nov. 14
"States of Mind: Music in Islamic Sufi Rituals"

Taoufiq ben Amor, Gordon Gray Jr. Senior Lecturer in Arabic Studies, Columbia University
Taoufik Ben Amor grew up in Tunis surrounded by Sufi music and rituals, especially of the Qadiri order. Three decades ago, he started learning the Oud (Arab lute) and the Arabic Maqam (Modal) system. He is an active music performer, educator and producer. He is currently writing a book titled "The Making of Tradition: Music, Language and Identity in the Arab World."

Friday, Dec. 4
"Making Music Changes Brains"

Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, associate professor of neurology, director of Music, Neuroimaging and Stroke Recovery Laboratories, and Chief of the Division of Cerebrovascular Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
Making music is an intense, multi-sensory and motor experience that is typically initiated at an early age and practiced throughout a musician’s lifetime. Emerging research over the years has shown that long-term music making and continuous practice of learned skills can be a strong stimulator for neuroplastic changes in the developing as well as adult brain and has positive effects on motion, emotion and cognition. Cross-sectional studies in adults have revealed brain and cognitive differences between musicians and non-musicians. This suggests that music making engages, links and changes brain regions and may provide an alternative entry point that could be useful for remediating impaired neural processes.

Thursday, Jan. 21
"Music, Memories, and the Brain"

Dr. Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology, Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis
Music-evoked memories and associated emotions are poignant examples of how music engages the brain. Janata combines music theory, cognitive psychology and computational modeling to generate intuitive animations of music moving about in tonal space (the system of major and minor keys). He then shows how the unique tonal movements of individual excerpts of popular music can be used in conjunction with neuroimaging experiments to identify brain networks that support the experiencing of memories and emotions evoked by the music.

Thursday, Jan. 28
"The Icelandic Edda: Myth and the Mind--Wagner, Tolkien and Beyond"

H.E. Hjálmar W. Hannesson, Ambassador of Iceland
Dr. Alexander Stein, psychoanalyst, The Boswell Group
Donald Crosby
Taru Spiegel, European Division, Library of Congress
The Sequentia Ensemble unveils its dramatic recreation of the Edda, the powerful Norse saga that fired Wagner’s transformation of ancient myth into a new art form. The panel looks at the origins and influence of the Edda, a few of the Edda-related treasures in the Library’s collections, including a manuscript fragment, and the potent combination of myth and music and its effect on the mind.

Friday, Feb. 26
"Why Do Listeners Enjoy Music That Makes Them Weep?"

Dr. David Huron, head, Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laborator, Ohio State University
Music-induced weeping represents one of the most powerful and potentially sublime experiences available to human listeners. Modern neuroscience provides helpful insights into this phenomenon, how sounds can evoke sadness or grief, and why such sounds might lead to "a good cry."

Friday, March 12
"The Positive Affects of Music Therapy on Health"

Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino, executive director and co-founder, Institute for Music and Neurologic Function
Why can someone with Alzheimer's disease recall lyrics to songs when they can't remember the names of their children? Why can a stroke survivor sing words to a familiar song even though they cannot speak? Drawing from more than 30 years of clinical experience and current research into the therapeutic applications of music for persons with acute or chronic health conditions, Tomaino will explain how and why music is an effective tool to enhance neurologic function, ability and quality of life.
Presented in cooperation with the American Music Therapy Association

Friday, April 9, 2010
"‘I'm Frozen and I Can't Play a Thing!’: Stage Fright and the Brain"

Norman Middleton, Music Division
Middleton recalls famous artists with the afflictions of stage fright and discusses recent research into solving the condition, through medication and altered thinking patterns that exacerbate the problem.

Saturday, April 24On LOCation at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St., N.E.
The Musician’s Mind: Dafnis Prieto
Jazz scholar Larry Appelbaum from the Library’s Music Division (host of WPFW’s "Sound of Surprise") interviews Cuban drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto before a concert by his Sí o Sí quartet.

Friday, April 30
The Musician’s Mind: Caleb Burhans

Composer Caleb Burhans talks about his new work before its premiere by the Jack Quartet for whom it was written.

Friday, May 14
"Wellness and Growth: Acoustic Medicine and Music Therapy"

Dr. Jayne Standley, director of the Music Therapy Program, Florida State University
Dr. Vera Brandes, Director Research Progam Music Medicine, Paracelsus Medical Private University, Salzburg
Presented in cooperation with the American Music Therapy Association

Saturday, May 15, 2-4 p.m., Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building
Reservations are required for this session; to reserve, call (202) 707-8432
"Managing Stress and Enhancing Wellness with Music Therapy"
Donald DuRousseau, Human Bionics, Purcellville, Va.
Anne Parker, music therapist/consultant
Presented in association with the American Music Therapy Association

Saturday, May 22
On LOCation at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St., N.E.
Mind of the Musician: Uri Caine
Pianist and composer Uri Caine talks with jazz scholar Larry Appelbaum before appearing with his Trio.


In conjunction with the Music and the Brain lecture series, the Library will offer a series of films by Dutch documentary filmmaker Frank Scheffer. Scheffer is internationally recognized as a master of sound and image. His films paint not only compelling portraits of major musical thinkers but also a view of the history of modernism in 20th-century music. In addition to numerous critical and festival awards, Scheffer has been honored with complete retrospectives of his films by the Holland Festival and the Mumbai Festival.

All films are at 7 p.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. Reservation required; call (202) 707-5677.

Wednesday, Nov. 4
“Conducting Mahler” (1996)
“Wagner's Ring” (1987)

Thursday, Nov. 12
“From Zero: Four Films on John Cage” (1995)
“Fourteen” / “19 Questions” / “Paying Attention” / “Overpopulation and Art”

Thursday, Nov. 19
“Karlheinz Stockhausen: Helicopter String Quartet” (1995)
“In the Ocean” (2001)


PR 09-199
ISSN 0731-3527