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Music Has Power Awards® Honors Dr. Daniel J. Levitin and Music Industry Exec/Advocate Karen Sherry

CenterLight’s Institute for Music and Neurologic Function Celebrates 20th Anniversary; Pays Tribute to Co-Founder Dr. Oliver Sacks

New York City – Renowned neuroscientist and author Daniel J. Levitin, PhD and Music Industry Executive and Advocacy Champion Karen Sherry are the honorees of the 15th Annual Music Has Power® Awards. The event, which will take place on November 9, 2015, supports the work and mission of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF), a member of CenterLight Health System.

Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson (Ashford and Simpson) will perform. An accomplished songwriter, producer and recording artist, Simpson is one half of the legendary duo Ashford & Simpson. Their chart-busting hits stretch over four decades and include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need To Get By," "Let's Go Get Stoned," "I'm Every Woman," "Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand," "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," "Your Precious Love" and "Solid." Soulful supergroup The Funx will serve as the opening act.

Popular Public Television personality Midge Woolsey will serve as the event’s emcee.

The evening will celebrate the IMNF’s 20th anniversary, and its visionary spirit and pioneering mission to combine science and music to advance the field of music therapy. City Winery in New York City’s downtown Hudson Square will serve as the evening’s venue. The event will feature a reception and dinner, followed by the awards presentation and live musical entertainment. The evening will also feature a tribute to the late Dr. Oliver Sacks, the visionary co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function.

A leading neuroscientist, Dr. Daniel Levitin is a cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist, best-selling author, musician and record producer.  He is James McGill Professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is Director of the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill, and Dean of Arts and Humanities at The Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute of Life Sciences in San Francisco.  A frequent commentator on NPR and CBC, he is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science and the Royal Society of Canada.

Levitin is best known for three #1 best-selling books, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, (2006),  The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature (2008) and The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (2014). He is also known for scientific articles on absolute pitch, music cognition and neuroscience. Levitin has also worked as a producer and sound designer on albums by Blue Öyster Cult, Chris Isaak, Jonathan Richman and Joe Satriani among others; as a consultant on albums by artists including Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Michael Brook; and as a recording engineer for Santana and The Grateful Dead.  Recordings which feature his contributions have sold in excess of 30 million copies.

Karen Sherry, Executive Director, The ASCAP Foundation (1998-2015) is a former singer-songwriter who began her career with ASCAP in 1979 as head of public relations. Sherry has served as adviser to the ASCAP Board and her peers on the ASCAP executive leadership team, and has created many of ASCAP’s signature events, including ASCAP’s Awards Shows and the annual “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, where she spearheaded the effort to house the prestigious ASCAP Collection at the Library. Sherry also established ASCAP’s grass-roots advocacy network and produced the celebrations for ASCAP’s 70th, 75th, and 100th year anniversaries.

Sherry became head of the ASCAP Foundation in 1998 and has worked to further its mission of identifying and nurturing new talent, promoting music education in the schools and expanding its humanitarian “Music Heals” Division. She grew the body from a local entity with limited resources to a national organization with a $10,000,000 fund balance that distributes over one million dollars annually to scholarships, grants, prizes and other programming.

“This year’s honorees are visionaries in the areas of neuroscience and the arts, as well the music education and advocacy,” said the IMNF Executive Director Dr. Concetta Tomaino.      “We’re pleased to recognize Dan and Karen, and their invaluable contributions to their fields.”

The Music Has Power gala follows a forum hosted by the IMNF in honor of the Institute’s 20th anniversary, entitled Celebrating the Science of Music and the Brain in Human Development, Health and Healing. Funded by a generous grant from The NAMM Foundation, this forum will explore the central theme of the IMNF’s work: how and why music affects brain development and healing. Levitin will also serve as the day’s keynote speaker. Popular radio personality John Schaefer, the host of NPR’s acclaimed Soundcheck program and regular World Science Festival contributor, will host the forum.

To support and/or register for the Music Has Power® Awards or the 20th Anniversary Forum, visit http://www.musichaspower.org.

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