Friday 28 April 2017

Why Sing? The Evolution of Singing

The Priory Church of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell

Our speakers, Dr Evangelos Himonides, Dr Katie Overy, Prof Steven Mithen, Prof Michael Trimble and Dr Edward Wickham, brought together a vast range of scholarship and practical knowledge, embracing anatomy, anthropology, neurology, psychology, technology and, of course, music. Individually and together they traced the evolution of music – especially singing, and how we have come to use, develop and enjoy it – from the times of our closest primate relatives millions of years ago, through our stone-age human ancestors and on to modern society: today’s mother and child, irrespective of cultural circumstances, will still engage naturally in a musical protolanguage of song – the origins of verbal communication, according to Darwin. As in every Musical Brain conference, musical performance belongs at the heart of proceedings and is provided on this occasion by The Clerks, a vocal ensemble which specialises in ancient and modern music and has delved into much of our subject matter through their evolutionary programme, The Ascent of Song: the first million years.

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Friday 16th April 2016

Friday 16th April 2016

Shakespeare's Musical Brain

King's College, London

The conference considered the relationship between words and music in aesthetic and scientific terms, and how it affects the relationship between actor and audience then as now. Bill Barclay, Director of Music at the Globe Theatre, explored the Music of the Spheres, both as this relates to Shakespeare and its meaning from ancient times through to modern physics. Prof Michael Trimble, behavioural neurologist, examined the similarities and differences in the conception and reception of words and music, understanding their distinct and mutual importance better through the medium of Shakespeare himself. Actors and musicians took a leading part, illustrating and responding creatively to the lectures, joining in discussion and ending the event with a performance of music and readings that reflected the themes of the day.

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Friday 24th October 2014

Friday 24th October 2014

Mozart and the Power of Music: Memory, Myth & Magic

Senate House, University of London

Since the dawn of our history, music has accompanied soldiers marching to war, but it has also mourned their loss and attempted to help survivors come to terms with the devastation that ensues. This two-day conference brought together musicians, music therapists, arts practitioners, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, historians and soldiers to address important questions. What is the relationship between art and war? What have been the responses of artists to post-traumatic stress disorder? Is human creativity itself therapeutic?

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Friday 28th - Saturday 29th June 2013

Friday 28th - Saturday 29th June 2013

Worlds in Collision: Music and the Trauma of War

The Mansion House, London

Since the dawn of our history, music has accompanied soldiers marching to war, but it has also mourned their loss and attempted to help survivors come to terms with the devastation that ensues. This two-day conference brought together musicians, music therapists, arts practitioners, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, historians and soldiers to address important questions. What is the relationship between art and war? What have been the responses of artists to post-traumatic stress disorder? Is human creativity itself therapeutic?

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th October 2012

Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th October 2012

The Beethoven Question: Can Art Make Life Worth Living?

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

Beethoven declared that his encroaching deafness would have led him to end his life had it not been for his art. The worlds of music and medical science are brought together in a weekend of illustrated talks, discussions and performances to consider what it is about music and the other arts that can help the human being rise above adversity.

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Friday 7th October 2011

Friday 7th October 2011

Why Music? Is Music Different from the Other Arts?

Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London

There have been debates for over 2,000 years about the similarities and differences between art forms, and music has at various times been venerated as superior to the rest. This conference explored this view from a multidisciplinary perspective: from the philosophical to the therapeutic; and from the psychological to the neurological. The relevance of the last, especially as revealed by modern brain imaging, will be the subject of debate, questioning the current role of neuroscience for philosophy and aesthetics.

CLICK HERE for full programme.



Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd October 2010

Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd October 2010

Robert Schumann: The Man, the Mind, the Music

St John's Smith Square, London

Why does music have such powerful effects upon us, our moods and well-being? How can music help to heal trauma, illness and brain injury? Professor Nigel Osborne, composer and pioneer in music therapy, and Stephen Johnson, writer and BBC Radio 3 presenter, introduced lectures by neuroscientists and psychiatrists and led discussions, illustrated by concerts featuring the music of Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and composers who influenced or were influenced by him.

CLICK HERE for full programme.



The Musical Brain ®
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