Arts Initiative Kick-off: David Byrne & Steven Pinker in Conversation
How Music Works: Are We Born Musical?
Boston University today announced that author, musician, and artist David Byrne and noted cognitive scientist Steven Pinker will come together on Monday, September 24th at 8:00 p.m. at BU’s Tsai Performance Center for David Byrne and Steven Pinker in Conversation, “How Music Works: Are We Born Musical?” The discussion will center on Mr. Byrne’s latest book, How Music Works, which looks at how music is shaped by time and space.
The event, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, is presented in partnership with DialogProjects and kicks-off the Boston University Arts Initiative. Created by the Office of the Provost, the BU Arts Initiative is a campus-wide effort to improve visibility for the University’s broad array of existing arts-related activities.
“Boston University has long supported artistic study and creation as integral to its academic efforts, drawing on the strength of our professional programs in music, theatre, and visual arts, arts-focused academic programs in fields such as musicology and art history, and a vibrant constellation of arts-based student clubs, groups and organizations,” said BU Provost Jean Morrison. “It is my hope that such a University-wide arts initiative will help spark artistic engagement as a fundamental aspect of the student experience at Boston University.”
How Music Works, which will be released this month, is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he’s spent a lifetime thinking about. He explains how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and how the advent of recording technology forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music. Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns—and tells us how they have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborators. Touching on the joy, physics, and the business of making music, he also shows how it is inextricably linked to its cultural and physical context.
David Byrne is a Scottish-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of Talking Heads. He has been the recipient of many awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The author of Bicycle Diaries and The New Sins, Byrne lives in New York City.
Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist at Harvard who conducts research on how people learn, use, and change language, and he is also one of the world’s foremost writers on the human mind and human nature. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received seven honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and The New Republic.
The event is free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Tickets must be picked-up at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the discussion or they will be re-issued. For more information, call the Tsai Center box office at 617-353-8725.
(Photo of David Byrne by Cataling Kulczar. Photo of Steven Pinker by Max. S. Gerber.)