Lost voices of British music

Lost voices of British music

Financial Times, Tuesday 25 June 2013 - by Susan Nickalls

Next year will see the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war. Preparations for commemorating it are well under way, as are controversies about how to respect different national sensibilities.

For Britons, the conflict’s horrors are most sharply evoked in poetry and paint: the verses of Wilfred Owen, say, or the nightmarish landscapes of Paul Nash. Yet the country’s composers went to the trenches too, as a City of London Festival concert will highlight on Saturday June 29. Coinciding with Armed Forces Day, it will also mark the end of “Worlds in Collision”, a two-day conference at Mansion House exploring the connection between creativity and the trauma of war. To be performed by the Royal Artillery Band, the programme will feature a new arrangement by composer Nigel Osborne that features the music of seven composers who fought in the first world war.

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From ceremony to therapy: how music could help to heal traumatised troops

From ceremony to therapy: how music could help to heal traumatised troops

The Observer, Sunday 9 June 2013 - by Dalya Alberge

Music is to be prescribed as therapy for soldiers suffering from the physical or mental effects of war, in a new initiative across the armed forces.

The army's most senior musician, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Meldrum, is taking part in a ground-breaking conference on music and the trauma of war later this month in the City of London. It will look at the potential of music to rehabilitate troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, many suffering post-traumatic stress and physical injuries. Musicians of the Royal Artillery Band and the Band of the Adjutant General's Corps are among other military personnel attending the two-day conference.

Conference director Ian Ritchie said there was a growing realisation within the forces that military musicians can play a therapeutic role – taking music beyond "the parade ground and raising morale, playing for special occasions and generally being ceremonial and upbeat" to become part of the healing process.

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International Piano - Why Music? Conference Report

International Piano - Why Music? Conference Report

by Claire Jackson

Scientists, philosophers and musicians gathered at the latest Musical Brain conference to explore whether music is different from other art forms.

Music can excite, inspire, dismay, intrigue or calm its listener. It might bring relaxation, positive association or encourage concentration. Those who feel passionate about music marvel at its ability to bring people together, and its power to ignite a multitude of emotions. In recent years there has been a lively debate regarding the extent to which music can change people's minds and bodies. Research has revealed that parts of the brain critical to human development are enlarged by musical experience. But why are there differences between music and other art forms - if differences exist at all?

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Schumann: A Mind Unhinged or a Genius Unlocked?

Schumann: A Mind Unhinged or a Genius Unlocked?

Click here to read an article written for 2010's Proms Guide by Stephen Johnson

“Stephen Johnson combined a superb intellect with a humility and willingness to share his experiences which was inspirational.”
One among many tributes paid to his contributions at Musical Brain events, Stephen’s scholarship, combined with his keen personal interest in The Musical Brain’s aims, has made his involvement in our conferences very special, and we look forward to welcoming him back in 2011.
He is a music journalist and broadcaster, having written regularly for The Independent, The Guardian, The Scotsman, BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone, and in 2003 was voted Amazon.com 'Classical Music Writer of the Year'.  Stephen is one of BBC Radio 3’s outstanding presenters, in particular of “Discovering Music”, which is normally broadcast at 5pm on Sundays.  
He is the author of Bruckner Remembered (Faber 1998) and books on Mahler and Wagner (Naxos 2006 & 2007).



Nature Online

Nature Online

An article in Nature online by the Science writer Philip Ball, author of The Music Instinct, how music works and why we can’t do without it:
It's not hard to understand why Robert Schumann was selected as the focus of a meeting called The Musical Brain: Arts, Science and the Mind, which took place last weekend in London. Not only is this year the two-hundredth anniversary of the German composer's birth, but his particular 'musical brain' gives neuroscientists plenty to think about.
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Hearts and minds

Hearts and minds

by Guy Dammann

"Birds whistle, man alone sings, and one cannot hear either a song or an instrumental piece without immediately saying to oneself: another sensitive being is present." The author of this sentence, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, remains best known for his political and moral philosophy that later inspired a revolution. But his thoughts on music were just as prescient of an aesthetic revolution that would lead to music being raised from the lowly place it occupied during his lifetime - that of poetry's "handmaiden" - to the position it took during the 19th century, as the highest, most noble, most humane of the fine arts.

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Women

Women's Hour - Radio 4

Music affects us in lots of ways - it can invoke memories, provoke emotions, and move us to activity (dancing, singing along, making music ourselves). So looking at how the brain responds when a person is listening to music tells us a lot about the role the brain plays in memory, emotion and activity, and how these things are related to each other. Music also gives neurologists a way into talking about the ‘nature/nurture’ debate by comparing the brains of talented musicians with those of ordinary people. Jenni discusses what music can tell us about the kinds of beings we are with Dr Jessica Grahn of Cambridge University and Dr Katie Overy from the University of Edinburgh.

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