Sounds & Science

“Sounds and Science” –  Music and Learning

Salão Nobre da Câmara de Castelo de Vide

Monday, July 5 2022, 19h00

Prof. Wolfgang Mastnak
Dr. Manfred Hecking
Dr. Ana Zão

Silke Avenhaus, piano
Ana Zão, piano
Christoph Poppen, violin
Manfred Hecking, cello

About Sounds and Science:

The idea of combining music and medicine into the “Sounds & Science” – scientific concert series started in 2008, when the Austrian violinist Rainer Honeck played Bach’s Chaconne in d-minor directly before a keynote lecture, held by Nobel laureate Peter Doherty, at the Austrian Society of Allergology and Immunology’s yearly meeting in Vienna. The experience at that lecture was remarkable, truly a special moment. “Sounds & Science” was then taken a step further by bringing several concepts together: Anton Neumayr’s medical histories of composers, John Brockman’s idea of a “Third Culture” (very broadly speaking: combining humanities and science), and finally, our perception that science deserves a “Red Carpet” to walk on, in front of an audience. Attendees of the “Sounds & Science” series have also described that music opens the mind, and enables a better understanding of concepts in life and thereby science in general.


About the collaboration between Sounds and Science and Marvão Academy:

Our previous Sounds and Science concerts/lectures have so far covered several aspects of internal medicine like “Music and Heart” (Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner), and “Music and Diabetes” (Bach, Ysaÿe, Puccini) – please visit the Website if you are interested in details. In the year 2021, and in collaboration with the Marvão Academy of Music and Science, we have started focussing on the scientific aspects of music itself, specifically trying to address the fascinating subject of music perception. For those of you who attended our concerts, in Castelo de Vide and Portalegre (14 and 16 June 2021), you may remember that we have covered a wide range of music from different composers: Beethoven, Bellini, Brahms, Fauré, Messiaen, Fazil Say, Schumann, Schubert, and even “Queen”. Such a wide range of musical expression inevitably leads to the questions: Why is tonal music so important for us humans? Why and how can music make us react emotionally? How can we apply music to benefit human lives?

We have challenged the audience with a wide range of talks, covering “the power of music: cognition and evolution” as well as the human brain. And although we have not been able to answer these questions – and no one will be able to answer them fully – we at Sounds and Science are grateful to the Marvão Academy team for having initiated this thought process.


About our next concert:

Our concert on July 5th 2022 is about learning and will be focussing on only two composers, who lived in completely different time periods and different countries: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). The lives of these composers as well as their bodily circumstances – recurrent bacterial infections in the case of Mozart, and an unresolved form of brain disease in the case of Ravel – were also very different from one another. However, the respective works composed by both, Mozart and Ravel work amazingly well together.

Scientifically, the principal speaker is intending to cover the following aspects that relate to music and learning (always referring to the played music):

  •    aesthetic experience and appreciation of beauty in music education;
  •   music being a construct of our brain and mind;
  •   the challenges of learning a musical instrument;
  •   health-promoting functions of music and music-health-education;
  •   self-experience of music-learning.

Musically, on top of presenting chamber music by Mozart and Ravel, we will focus on the Ave Verum Corpus KV 618, a piece of sacred music (a motet) that Mozart composed in the summer of 1791. This piece will be repeatedly taught to the audience and -ultimately- performed together.


Christoph Poppen, Manfred Hecking, Silke Avenhaus
W.A. Mozart, Piano Trio B Flat Major, KV 502, 1st Movement – Allegro

Manfred Hecking, Wolfgang Mastnak, Ana Zão
About Music & Learning

Christoph Poppen, Silke Avenhaus
W.A. Mozart, from Violin Sonata e-minor KV 304, 1st Movement – Allegro

Wolfgang Mastnak
Learning and Experiencing Music: Aesthetic and Neuroscientific Perspectives (music educational view)

Christoph Poppen, Silke Avenhaus
M. Ravel, from Violin sonata: 2nd Movement – Blues

Manfred Hecking, Wolfgang Mastnak, Ana Zão
Mozart and Ravel

Silke Avenhaus, Ana Zão
M. Ravel, from Ma Mère l´Oye, 3rd Movement Laideronnette, Impératrice des Pagodes

Ana Zão
Learning and Experiencing Music: Aesthetic and Neuroscientific Perspectives (medical view)

Christoph Poppen, Manfred Hecking, Silke Avenhaus, Ana Zão, Wolfgang Mastnak & Audience
W. A. Mozart, Ave verum corpus KV 618 and Piano Trio C-Major KV 548, 3rd Movement Allegro.