The Kennedy Center

Sound Health is an initiative to expand our understanding of the connections between music and wellness: How music is processed by our brain, how it might impact our development, and how in some cases it might be used as a medical intervention for patients with a variety of conditions.

Launched in 2016 under the leadership of Renée Fleming and Dr. Francis Collins, Sound Health is a partnership between the Kennedy Center and National Institutes of Health, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts. In its role as the largest funder of biomedical research in the world, the NIH is supporting studies that explore these key questions. And in its role as the nation’s performing arts center, the Kennedy Center seeks to provide a platform for artists, researchers, neuroscientists, and music therapists to bring this fascinating work to a broader public.

Sound Health grew out of a 2013 year-round community engagement initiative by the National Symphony Orchestra of the same name that  sends musicians into local hospitals, pediatric units, and military health centers in the Washington D.C. area to bring music and personal interaction to what can be stressful environments for patients, families and medical providers, who might not be able to regularly travel to the Kennedy Center or other performing arts venues.

Sound Health Music and the Mind

On September 7-8, spend two days of performance and discussions exploring how music impacts the developing brain, with a deeper focus on childhood development.

Sound Health Music and the Mind

Renee Fleming
"If people understood the power of arts in our lives, it would affect the way we make arts accessible to everyone."
-Renée Fleming, Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large
Francis Collins
"There is so much we still don’t know about the effects of music in health broadly, and this partnership aims to explore this uncharted territory."
-Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director 

Watch Highlights from Past Panels and Performances