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May 8, 2007

Bestselling author Daniel Levitin to speak at Symposium on Music, Rhythm and the Brain

Daniel Levitin, author of last year's bestselling This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Penguin), will deliver the keynote address at the second annual Symposium on Music, Rhythm and the Brain, May 11-13 at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

Although rhythmic music often evokes images of primitive ritual, researchers are currently looking at it as a potential treatment for such conditions as attention-deficit disorder, anxiety, depression and dementia.

At the symposium, scholars from the fields of music theory, music cognition, psychology, neuroscience, medicine and anthropology will examine how rhythmic music affects brain functions, even inducing meditation and trance states. The symposium is sponsored by the Center for Arts, Science and Technology of the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts.

Levitin will deliver his address, titled "Music and Flow," at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Clark Center Auditorium. An associate professor of psychology at McGill University, Levitin will discuss his neuroscience research as well as his experience as a musician, record producer and music industry executive. His talk is free and open to the public.

The symposium will include presentations, panel discussions, and music and dance performances. Participants will study the relationships between rhythmic music and states of meditation and trance, as well as the use of rhythmic music for treatment of neurological conditions.

"We have a tremendously exciting line-up of world-class experts for this year's event," said music Associate Professor Jonathan Berger, an organizer of the symposium and co-director of the Institute for Creativity and the Arts. "My hope is that the symposium will garner colleagues to join forces and solidify collaborations that will expand our understanding of how the brain responds to music."

Admission is free, but registration is required at all events other than the keynote address. For registration, directions and more information, visit



Laurie McDonough, School of Humanities and Sciences: (650) 725-8445,


Jonathan Berger, Department of Music: (650) 725-3101,

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