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Music and the Mind


The Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Wheeler Centre present a special one-off event exploring the intersection of music and the human mind.


This talk brings together the perspectives of a scientist and a musician in what promises to be a fascinating counterpoint: Baroness Susan Greenfield, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, writers and broadcasters, and author of the bestselling The Human Brain: A Guided Tour; and trumpeter, ACO collaborator and composer Phil Slater, a leading practitioner of the art of improvisation and whose PhD focussed on skill acquisition and motor learning.

The capacity to create and respond to music is one of the defining features of the human brain. As Greenfield puts it, ‘in the age-old debates about what makes us human, some argue that sign-language skills are possible to a limited extent in other, specifically trained primates, but no one has yet claimed that chimps … are capable of generating and appreciating music. In contrast, our own ancestors have been doing so for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years.’ In this discussion, Greenfield and Slater will explore how our brains interact with music, and what that means for creatives and audiences alike. Moderated by Sana Qadar (host of All In The Mind on ABC RN), the evening will end with an exclusive musical performance.

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Presented in partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra


All tickets $35 + booking fee.

The event is ticketed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Book now


Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact the Australian Chamber Orchestra at 1800 444 444 or


Susan Greenfield

Baroness Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Neuro-Bio Ltd ( is a neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster. She has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, based mainly at Oxford University but has held research fellowships at the College de France Paris, NYU Medical Center N... Read more

Sana Qadar

Sana Qadar is an award-winning podcaster and journalist whose work has featured on the ABC, BBC, SBS, Al Jazeera, and NPR to name a few. Sana hosts All in the Mind on ABC Radio National, and co-hosts the SBS podcast Eyes on Gilead, which won a 2019 Australian Podcast Award for Best Fancast.... Read more


Pier 2/3 (Sydney)

Pier 2/3 13A Hickson Road Dawes Point NSW 2000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.