past event
The Brain

Music on your Mind: The Power of Music to Educate and Heal Us

Join us as we honor and celebrate Marin Alsop, 2022 Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence, who talks about the power of music in conversation with Susan Magsamen, founder and director of the International Arts+Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative. Award-winning television and documentary producer James Blue moderates the panel.


Marin Alsop is the first woman to have served as the head of major U.S. orchestra leading the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2021. She is currently chief conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and is the first-ever music director of University of Maryland’s National Orchestral Institute + Festival, and the first chief conductor and curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. In 2021, she assumed the title of music director laureate and founder of the OrchKids youth program of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Previously, she was music director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music for 25 years. Alsop is the first and only conductor to receive a MacArthur Fellowship and has also been honored with the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, numerous honorary doctorates and multiple Gramophone Classical Music Awards. In 2002 she founded the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship for female conductors, which was recently renamed in her honor as the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship. A new biographical film about her life, “The Conductor”, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2021.

Susan Magsamen has dedicated her career to putting basic science and the many ways of knowing in service to health, well-being, and learning. Committed both to rigorous research at the intersection of the brain and the arts, and to rigorous translation of the findings, she is founder and executive director of the International Arts+Mind Lab, a pioneering neuroaesthetics initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint, a joint initiative of the Aspen Institute and Johns Hopkins University, with a mission is to cultivate an ecosystem for neuroarts, defined here as the transdisciplinary and extradisciplinary study of how the arts and aesthetic experiences measurably change the body, brain, and behavior, and how this knowledge is translated into specific practices that advance health and wellbeing. Magsamen is author of the evidence-based Impact Thinking model, designed to accelerate the use of art to enhance human potential, and has also written seven books, including The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonder, The 10 Best of Everything Families, and Family Stories.

James F. Blue III, an award-winning television and documentary producer and executive, is owner and chief creative officer of Storyboard Pictures, a New York-based television production company. He most recently executive produced programming for Jay Z’s Rocnation. Previously, he headed the Smithsonian Channel and served as senior vice president of MTV News and Documentaries within Paramount Global’s MTV Entertainment Group. Under his leadership, the Smithsonian Channel partnered with Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Productions on The Color of Care, a multiplatform documentary on racial disparities in American healthcare. In an earlier position as a senior executive at PBS Newshour, he oversaw the editorial content and production of special programming and produced two Democratic presidential primary debates for NewsHour. He also created PBS’s primetime arts show, Beyond the Canvas, now in its third season. Blue has won virtually every major award in journalism, including eight national Emmy awards, three Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards, five George Foster Peabody Awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, and the NABJ Award for Overall Excellence.


Sponsored by The Michelle Smith Arts and Culture Series

Event information
Wed Nov 9, 2022
5:30pm - 7:00pm EDT
The Aspen Institute
2300 N Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC