DSA and UT Southwestern Medical Center Announce Music and the Brain at SOLUNA

Fourth Edition of Lecture Event Uniting Music and Neurology Presented at Moody Performance Hall on Saturday, May 12 at 1:00 PM

Dallas, TX (March 2, 2018) - The Dallas Symphony Association and UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute announce the fourth annual Music and the Brain as part of the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival on Saturday, May 12. The event begins at 1:00 PM at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Music and the Brain is presented with generous support from the Hersh Foundation.

Four guest speakers will present a unique session focused on music and art’s incredible power to shape young minds and influence early childhood learning.

  • Dr. Lisa Wong, Assistant Co- Director of the Arts and Humanities Initiative at Harvard Medical School, will give a presentation titled “Teach Me a Song: Lifelong Learning Through Music.”
  • Dr. Assal Habibi, Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, will present “The Brain’s Crescendo: How Music Training Impact’s Child Development.”
  • Dr. Jonathan Fisher, Director of the Neurosensory Engineering Lab at New York Medical College and Founder of the Neurodome Project, takes us on a tour of the brain in “The Journey Inward: A Multi-Scale Tour Through the Brain.”
  • Dr. Robert Zatorre, Professor of Neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute, will discuss how our brains perceive music in his presentation, “From Perception to Pleasure: Why We Love Music.”

The afternoon will be interspersed with “Brain Interludes,” where speakers will give short, personal anecdotes on the theme. Students from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Young Strings program will also perform during the afternoon.  Music and the Brain will be moderated by Dr. Mark Goldberg, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

“Music enriches us, and it can heal us,” said Dr. Goldberg. “For those of us at the O’Donnell Brain Institute, it is a great pleasure to join SOLUNA and the Dallas Symphony Association in investigating the art and science of the musical experience across our lifetimes.”

The O’Donnell Brain Institute is dedicated to finding the underlying causes of brain-related diseases through fundamental research, to the development of more effective treatment and ultimately cure and prevention of these devastating disorders while offering the most innovative patient-centric care possible today.

 “The Dallas Symphony is honored to work with UT Southwestern and the distinguished guests that join us at Music and the Brain,” said Kim Noltemy, President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. “Exploring the intersection of science and music is fascinating, and this year’s topic of music in early childhood resonates with so many of us.”

Music and the Brain launched at the first annual SOLUNA Festival in May 2015. The inclusion of the event was conceived by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, who, with his wife Aaltje, have a passion for music therapy and neurological research and study. 

Tickets for Music and the Brain at the SOLUNA Festival range from $19 to $39 and are available at www.mydso.com or by calling the box office at 214.TIX.4DSO.


Dr. Mark Goldberg is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center.  He is holder of the Linda and Mitch Hart Distinguished Chair in Neurology.  Dr. Goldberg is a clinical neurologist and neuroscientist who studies diseases such as stroke and trauma to understand how brain connections heal after injury.

Dr. Lisa Wong is a pediatrician, musician, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and co-director of the Arts and Humanities Initiative at Harvard Medical School. A member of Longwood Symphony Orchestra, she served as LSO President for 20 years and wrote Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine.  She is passionate advocate for life-long learning and healing through the arts, serving on the boards of Conservatory Lab Charter School, New England Foundation for the Arts, Boston Arts Consortium for Health and National Academies Committee on Arts and Humanities in STEMM.   

Dr. Assal Habibi is an Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California. Dr. Habibi completed her doctoral work at UC Irvine, investigating the effects of musical training in musicians, non-musicians and patients with auditory impairments. Currently, she is the lead investigator of a five-year longitudinal study, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, investigating the effects of childhood music training on brain, cognitive and social development. Dr. Habibi is a classically trained pianist.

Dr. Jonathan Fisher is an Assistant Professor of Physiology at New York Medical College and the Director of the Neurodome project, which pioneers the use of planetarium environments and virtual reality to explore neuroimaging data. He has forged partnerships to engineer events and installations that bring neuroscience and brain health awareness to the public. He is a pianist and had his Carnegie Hall debut in 2007. As a performing artist he explores the interface between human expression and technology. Dr. Fisher received his PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and postdoctoral training in neuroscience at The Rockefeller University.

Dr. Robert Zatorre is a cognitive neuroscientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University focused on the neural substrate for auditory cognition, with special emphasis on speech and music. He and his collaborators have published over 280 scientific papers on topics including pitch perception, musical imagery, absolute pitch, music and emotion, perception of auditory space and brain plasticity in the blind and the deaf. In 2006 he became the founding co-director of the international laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound research (BRAMS), a multi-university consortium dedicated to the cognitive neuroscience of music.

WHAT:             Music and the Brain

WHEN:             May 12, 2018 at 1:00 PM

WHERE:           Moody Performance Hall |2520 Flora St. Dallas, TX 75201                    

PURCHASE:     Tickets range from $19 to $39 and may be purchased at www.mydso.com or call 214.TIX.4DSO.

Hersh Foundation, Presenting Sponsor

About The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival

Anchored by DSO performances led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival will showcase internationally-acclaimed guest soloists, visual artists and performing artists alongside leading Dallas-based companies and ensembles. An annual, three-week multidisciplinary event, SOLUNA will stage performances and exhibitions at venues,
prominent galleries and performance spaces throughout the Dallas Arts District. SOLUNA aims to steward authentic collaborations within the Dallas Arts District and serve as a magnet for artists and performers around the world. By incorporating strong educational and science components, audiences are invited to experience music and art and interact with their Dallas community in new and exciting ways.


Media Contacts:
Denise McGovern, d.mcgovern@dalsym.com, 214.871.4024
Chelsey Norris, c.norris@dalsym.com, 217.871.4063