Daniel Levitin: music producer, turned neuroscientist, turned professor.

Daniel Levitin: music producer, turned neuroscientist, turned professor.

Dr. Levitin is singular among music scientists for actually having come out of the music industry. Before getting his Ph.D. he spent 15 years as a record producer, working with artists ranging from the Blue Öyster Cult to Chris Isaak. While still in graduate school he helped Stevie Wonder assemble a best-of collection; in 1992 Dr. Levitin’s sensitive ears detected that MCA Records had accidentally used third-generation backup tapes to produce seven Steely Dan CDs, and he embarrassed the label by disclosing it in Billboard magazine. He has earned nine gold and platinum albums, which he tucks in corners of his lab, office and basement at home. “They look a little scary when you put them all in one place, so I spread them around,” he said.

Scientifically, Dr. Levitin’s colleagues credit him for focusing attention on how music affects our emotions, something that wasn’t often covered by previous generations of ‘psychoacousticians’, who studied narrower questions about how the brain perceives musical sounds. Dr. Levitin’s research is very musical, and focused on the fact that music is an art for that individuals interact with, rather than being just noises.

Ultimately, his work offers a new way to unlock the mysteries of the brain: how memory works, how people with autism think, why our ancestors first picked up instruments and began to play, tens of thousands of years ago.

Enjoy an entertaining and engaging evening with Professor Daniel Levitin and Martin Grant, Dean, Faculty of Science.

You will be able to discover what half a dozen songs can reveal about the prehistoric yet elegant systems at play when we dance at a wedding or tune out with an iPod. In his new book, The World in Six Songs, Dan Levitin presents his theory explaining how music shaped human culture.

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location(s): 1 King Street West,
Austin Gallery
Toronto, Ontario
RSVP/Pre-Register: March 17, 2009 to May 1, 2009
General $15.00 CAD
Contact: • Toronto Alumni Representative
Phone: 416-703-9795, ext. 223,
Email: toronto.alumni@mcgill.ca

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