Cleveland Clinic, Orchestra Explore Music-Brain Connection

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Cleveland Clinic and The Cleveland Orchestra will present a symposium called Music and the Brain Aug.16 in Salzburg, Austria. The program will convene experts from Cleveland and around the world to examine the intersection of music and neuroscience, the impact of music on health, disease and the social implications of the music-brain connection.

The international Music and the Brain Symposium is part of the Salzburg Festival, an annual five-week-long music and drama festival. It is the first program of its kind to be held during the Salzburg Festival.

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“Music has a universal impact on humans. It has a profound impact on human health and wellness and is also used as a therapeutic tool for patients,” said Ali R. Rezai, M.D., Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Neurological Restoration. “Music and the Brain crosses multiple disciplines and is an exciting and emerging field of study.”

Music and the Brain will cover a variety of interrelated topics including the neurobiology of music (the unique way in which music and the brain interact), the impact of music on health and a sociological perspective of the role of the arts in neuroscience. The day-long symposium will consist of presentations and panel discussions, and will feature an internationally recognized group of experts representing the fields of music, neuroscience, health and wellness and philosophy.

Franz Welser-Most, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra, said, “It is my pleasure to introduce, for the first time in Salzburg, a meeting combining music and science to focus on the fact that we are on the verge of a decade of important research about how music effects the brain and the medical, musical, social and philosophical implications of that research. We are learning more and more that music is not only an emotional, artistic outlet, but it may also have specific positive effects on health and healing.”

The program is part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Salzburg Festival Residency. Music and the Brain is the result of a new collaboration between The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute. Music and the Brain evolved from a discussion between Welser- Most and Dr. Rezai about their shared interest in how music affects both the brain and overall health. The conversation paved the way for the international symposium about the future of this dynamic field.

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