Stanford music researchers question The Beatles' success

Stanford music researchers invite public to explore success of The Beatles on 40th Anniversary of The White Album
Feb. 8, 2008 - PRLog -- Stanford's Aurora Forum, in conjunction with the Stanford Humanities Center, will present a public conversation with three Stanford alums whose research explores the musical and cultural innovations that made The Beatles a powerful force for innovation in society and the arts. Beatles on the Brain, will take place on Thursday, February 21, 2008 in Stanford's Kresge Auditorium from 7:30pm-9:00pm. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Using samples of The Beatles music, Daniel Levitin, a psychologist and record producer, Nick Bromell, an English Professor and author of Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s, along with moderator and Stanford Music Professor, Jonathan Berger will engage the audience in a discussion that will tackle these questions and more:

- Why is the human brain drawn to The Beatles music?
- Why will The Beatles music still be popular 200 years from now?
- Why do The Beatles compositions merit comparisons to the greatest composers?
- How does music challenge and fulfill listeners?
- What were the cultural elements that came together to cement the Beatles  
 popularity in the 1960s?
- What happens in the brain when music is played?

Aurora Forum programming serves as a bridge between Stanford University and a broad public eager for high quality ideas and information. The Aurora Forum is part of a history of free public programs that goes back to the University's founding in 1891. Today, Aurora Forum programming regularly airs on KQED Public Radio, and all conversations are available on the Aurora Forum website in video, audio or transcript form.

Panelist's Profiles:

Jonathan Berger, Stanford Associate Professor of Music and Co-director of the Stanford Initiative on Creativity and the Arts
Jonathan Berger has composed symphonic works, concerti, works for all varieties of chamber ensemble, and electro-acoustic music. In addition to composition, he is an active researcher with over 60 publications in a wide range of fields relating to music, science and technology.  His research includes studies in music cognition, snal processing and sonification. His most recent CD, Miracles and Mud, was released last spring.  He and Daniel Levitin are now working on an article, which will examine the relationship between the Beatles music and renowned, classical composer Joseph Haydn's work.

Jonathan Berger's sonification research was featured in the January 12, 2008 episode of NPR's Weekend American show.

Daniel Levitin,
Bell Chair in Psychology, McGill University
Daniel Levitin earned his bachelor’s degree in cognitive science at Stanford, his doctorate in psychology from the University of Oregon, and completed post-doctoral training in neuroimaging and psychology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and UC Berkeley. For ten years, he worked as a session musician, commercial recording engineer, and record producer for countless rock groups, including Santana and the Grateful Dead. He has published extensively in refereed scientific journals and in audio magazines and trade journals such as Grammy, Billboard, and Audio. He is the author of the bestselling book, This Is Your Brain On Music.

Nick Bromell,
Professor of English, UMass Amherst
Nick Bromell earned his doctorate at Stanford where he studied the literature, intellectual history, and popular culture of the United States.  In addition to essays and reviews he has written for numerous scholarly and popular publications, he is the author of By the Sweat of the Brow: Literature and Labor in Antebellum American Culture and Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s.  He is currently writing a book on U.S. literature and democracy.


Aurora Forum homepage

Mark Gonnerman
Director, Stanford Aurora Forum
Office (650) 723-5774

Corrie Goldman
Stanford Humanities Outreach Officer
Office (650) 724-8156

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