Music and Meaning | Seminars in Society and Neuroscience

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Italian Academy

1161 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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The extraordinary power of music to communicate complex emotions and thoughts has fascinated scholars for centuries. Music taps into cognitive mechanisms that govern our daily interactions with the world, such as expectations and violations of these expectations, and appears to have much in common with language. In addition, music plays social and ethical functions that can be understood from philosophical, historical, and cultural perspectives.

Join us for a discussion with three renowned scholars from the humanities and cognitive science who will show how these modes of inquiry bear on each other – and explain what makes music mean.

The event is co-sponsored by the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies and Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience.

Free and open to the public but RSVP is required. Please click "Register" above

Image: Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VIII, 1923, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Welcoming Remarks:

David Freedberg, Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Italian Academy, Columbia University

Pamela Smith, Seth Low Professor of History and Chair, Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University


David Huron, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor, School of Music & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Ohio State University

Aniruddh D. Patel, Professor of Psychology, Tufts University

Elizabeth Tolbert, Professor of Musicology, Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University


Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University

Jacqueline Gottlieb, Professor of Neuroscience, Columbia University

For for infomation, please visit the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience website.


What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

The event is located on the Columbia University campus, within walking distance from the 1, A ,B, C, D subway lines.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please send an email to

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, but you may be asked your name in order to check in at the front desk.

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Italian Academy

1161 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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