A Steinway to Invigorate Imaginations at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute

Joyce J Cammilleri HallJoyce J. Cammilleri Hall, the performance space at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is another hallmark creation of Yasuhisa Toyota, chief acoustician for more than 50 international projects including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City.
Photography: John Livzey

As seen in the Spring 2013 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

Antonio and Hanna DamasioDrs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio – who together have challenged dominant 20th century views about brain function and demonstrated how emotions play a critical role in high-level cognition – are co-founders of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California.

The Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California has selected a Steinway Model B to assist with trailblazing research in a new 20,000 square foot facility on the USC campus. Located in the Dornsife Neuroscience Pavilion, the BCI complex features a classical auditorium designed by Dr. Yasuhisa Toyota, one of the foremost acoustical engineers of the 21st century. Dr. Toyota has collaborated with iconic architect Frank Gehry and others on some of the world’s most distinguished venues, including Disney Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Founded by Drs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio in 2006, the BCI is at the forefront of exciting technology that offers intriguing perspectives into the human brain and its vast array of amazing functions. Performance space is located alongside neuroimaging machines and science labs, where researchers strive to generate new knowledge aimed at enriching the physical, mental and spiritual view of human nature.

“Understanding the neurological basis of mental phenomena is indispensable for medical and social progress in a globalized society defined by rapid changes and plagued by conflict,” the Institute says in its mission statement.

Frank Gehry Brain and Creativity InstituteThe new BCI complex was designed by Frank Gehry, whose monumental works including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, are often cited among the world’s most important structures in contemporary architecture.
Photography: John Livzey

The BCI is currently engaged in a five-year research project with the LA Philharmonic and Heart of Los Angeles to investigate the emotional, social and cognitive effects of musical training on childhood brain development. Neuroscientists are using psychological assessments and advanced brain imaging techniques to track how children respond at the very onset of being exposed to an intensive music education, as opposed to previous approaches where studies were conducted later in life.

The Model B piano was delivered to the Brain and Creativity Institute along with two Model D pianos for USC’s Thornton School of Music as part of the All-Steinway School initiative.

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