September 12th, 2011

Scientific Symposium on Music and Healing Receives Major Grant from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation

By msequeira
Leading cancer research foundation awards $150,000 to support 2012 symposium co-presented by UNM Cancer Center and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

The University of New Mexico Cancer Center and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival are pleased to announce a $150,000 grant from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research to support “The Science of Music and Healing,” a scientific symposium scheduled for August 4-6, 2012, in Santa Fe. Co-presented by the two organizations in collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, this innovative symposium will bring together some of the world’s leading experts in music and medicine to explore music’s role in both cognitive development and healing. “The Science of Music and Healing” is a highlight of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 40th anniversary season, celebrated in July and August of 2012.

“We are thrilled to count Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation as a major supporter of this groundbreaking scientific symposium,” said Cheryl Willman, MD, Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. “There is incredibly exciting work being done in this field, which is relatively new as an area of rigorous scientific inquiry, but ancient in its core insight: that music can have a powerful effect on human beings’ mental, emotional and physical well-being.”

“We are deeply grateful for the support of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation,” affirmed Steven Ovitsky, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. “By bringing top scientists to Santa Fe during our 40th anniversary season, we have the extraordinary privilege of facilitating exchanges between world-leading scientists and musicians. The results will be revelatory and inspirational for all involved.”

“It is our great pleasure to support this wonderfully unique and important collaboration,” said Denise Rich, President and Co-Founder of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation. “My daughter, Gabrielle, truly believed in the healing power of music. As a songwriter, I could not agree with her more. We believe the symposium will further much-needed research and help promote improvements in the treatment and care of cancer patients and their families.”

The scientific symposium has two compelling aims: 1) to bring world-class physicians and scientists to Santa Fe to share ideas and expertise with the world-class musicians of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and 2) to present research concerning the influence of music on brain development and the role of music in promoting healing in patients with serious or chronic conditions, notably cancer and a range of neurologic, developmental and cognitive disorders. In particular, the symposium’s organizers seek to define the “state of the science” for researchers and healthcare workers, as well as identify the most pressing questions for future research in the field and establish how music can best enrich the practice of medicine today.

“The Science of Music and Healing” will provide many opportunities for interactions and collaborative demonstrations between scientists and musicians, including exciting forums open to the public. Symposium sessions will be integrated into the Festival’s musical program on August 4, 5 and 6, 2012. Schedule and presenter details will be available in the coming months.


About the UNM Cancer Center

The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center in the state. One of just 66 NCI-designated cancer centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research and delivery of medical advances to patients and their families. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and 127 research scientists hailing from leading institutions such as MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 65 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. In 2010, it provided care to more than 15,800 cancer patients. The Center’s research programs are supported by nearly $60 million annually in federal and private funding. Learn more at


About Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Since it was founded in 1972, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival has become one of the world’s preeminent music festivals, guided by a visionary spirit and dedicated to artistic excellence and innovation. Contributing to its magic is the Festival’s unique Santa Fe setting, nestled amid the timeless splendors of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Under the spirited artistic leadership of composer/pianist Marc Neikrug, the Festival annually invites scores of distinguished musicians, along with emerging young talent, during its 6-week season. Its Composer-in-Residence program was inaugurated in 1976, resulting in the commission of more than 50 works to-date from eminent composers that represent a significant contribution to contemporary chamber music repertoire. In the 2010 season, the Festival began an exciting Artist-in-Residence program. Thousands of enthusiastic patrons young and old return year after year to enjoy the more than 80 concerts, recitals, master classes, youth concerts and open rehearsals, including an Albuquerque Series that made its debut in 2008. In addition, in the off-season, the Festival reaches out to adults and young people in Santa Fe schools with innovative and inspiring musical adventures. Learn more at


About Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation funds the nation’s best and brightest young scientific investigators conducting research in the fields of leukemia, lymphoma and related cancers. Now in its fifteenth year, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation has awarded grants totaling over $16 million and maintains its status as one of the largest non-governmental sources of grant support for blood cancer research in the nation. Learn more at


UNM Cancer Center contact information
Dorothy Hornbeck, JKPR, (505) 797-6673,
Audrey Manring, UNM Cancer Center, (505) 925-0486,



Tags: community, Press Release Archive 2011, research program