EVENT POSTPONED--Divergent Musicalities: Teaching, Learning, Sharing and Making Music Across the Autism Spectrum

Due to concerns about containing the COVID-19 illness, this event will not be held on March 13th and 14th, 2020.  We are working to reschedule the event for Fall 2020.  If you would like to be placed on a mailing list with updates about the event, please contact Elizabeth Fein at feine@duq.edu.


PNC Recital Hall and Lobby, Mary Pappert School of Music, Duquesne University

Music is an important part of life for many people on the autism spectrum. However, music teachers and other creative collaborators sometimes feel uncertain about how to teach, learn, and share music with people on the spectrum.

At the two-day Divergent Musicalities symposium, we will gain experience with sharing music across the spectrum of neurological difference. Through presentations, performances, and workshops, attendees will learn from musicians on the autism spectrum, music educators, and researchers studying the connections between autism and music. Through working with these consultants, attendees will gain greater confidence in their ability to co-create inclusive spaces where musicians across the spectrum of neurological difference can participate, learn, and grow in their creative practice.


Michael Bakan photo

Michael Bakan, Ph.D.
Michael Bakan is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Head of the World Music Ensembles Program in the College of Music at Florida State University. His more than 70 publications include the books Speaking for Ourselves: Conversations on Life, Music, and Autism (Oxford, 2018), World Music: Traditions and Transformations (McGraw-Hill, 3rd ed., 2019), and Music of Death and New Creation: Experiences in the World of Balinese Gamelan Beleganjur (Chicago, 1999). He serves as series editor of the Routledge Focus on World Music Series and on the International Advisory Board of Ethnomusicology Forum, formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Central Fellowships Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies, and has performed and recorded as a percussionist with George Clinton and the legendary funk band Parliament, John Cage, Tito Puente, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and several leading gamelan ensembles in Bali, Indonesia.

photo of john vento

John Vento
Band Together Pittsburgh was founded in early 2016 by John Vento & Ron "Moondog" Esser

John Vento, a successful Pittsburgh businessman, returned to music to front The Nied's Hotel Band, voted Pittsburgh's Best Bar Band - 2016. Through his performances, he has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for charity. His leadership, generosity and work ethic are well known throughout the Pittsburgh music scene. John loves to perform and wants to share that experience with those on the Autism spectrum.

photo of tom georgio Thomas Georgi
After studies at Cornell University and State University of New York at Stony Brook, Thomas Georgi moved to Australia to become a violinist in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. After ten years in the sunshine, he moved back to North America to play with Tafelmusik. In 2017 he was honoured for his work on the viola d'amore when Anatoma georgii, a new species of Alaskan marine snail, was named for "naturalist and viola d'amore virtuoso, scholar, and teacher Thomas (Tom) Georgi for his masterful and nuanced interpretation of early music, particularly his tasteful gestures and ornamentation, and for generously sharing his wealth of knowledge with players around the world." Tom's solo recordings for the Bis label may be heard for free at bis.se. His website, violadamore.com promotes the wider understanding of the viola d'amore.
Tammy Hughes smiles for a photo Tammy Hughes, Ph.D.
Tammy L. Hughes, Ph.D. is a Pastā€President of both the Division of School Psychology (16) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Trainers of School Psychologists (TSP). A fellow of the American Psychological Association, she served as the Chair of the APA's Board of Education Affairs (BEA), Chair of the Child, Adolescent and Family caucus as a Representative to the APA Council (CoR), 2019 APA Task Force to Develop a Blueprint for APA Accreditation of Master's Programs in Health Service Psychology, 2017 APA Summit on High School Psychology Education, and 2009 APA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Psychology Practice. At present, she is active in APA's Coalition for Psychology in the Schools and Interdivisional Task Force on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Dr. Hughes is a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist and Board Certified in School Psychology.
Linda Sanders smiling

Linda Sanders
Linda has 38 years of experience as a music therapist clinician with persons of all ages who have communication challenges and who have autism spectrum disorder. Her degrees and licensures include M.R.E., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; B.M., Westminster College; Post-baccalaureate Certification in Music Therapy, Duquesne University; Board Certified Music Therapist; Licensed Practical Counselor, State of Pennsylvania. She is a co-director and co-founder of Creative Therapies Enterprises, a company providing clinical and consulting services in the expressive arts therapies since 1978. She has extensive experience in presenting at regional, national and international music therapy conferences, conducting in-service training for teachers and healthcare professionals, and providing inclusion consultation to music educators.

Photo of Jackson Hunt Jackson Hunt
Jackson Hunt is a 10th grade Piano Major at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, where he studies with Sean Baran. He also studies piano privately with Steinway Artist Yeeha Chiu, and Composition with Robert Schultz. He recently won 3rd place nationally in MTNA's senior composition contest. He participates in the YC2 chamber music program at Duquesne University as part of the Ligneus Piano Quartet, which is coached by PSO Cellist Charlie Powers, and has recently began studying violin at school.
Joe Hnath headshot

Joe Hnath 
Joe Hnath has been singing and acting on stage since he was 9 and in local films for about 4 years. Joe has been with Band Together Pittsburgh for 2 years and is loving the opportunity to grow as an entertainer.

Patrick lah sitting near a floor piano

Patrick Lah
Patrick Lah is a multi-genre pianist, vocalist and impressionist who performs throughout the Pittsburgh area and speaks on the topics of anti-bullying and acceptance of the differently-abled. For videos and booking information, visit patricklah.com.

Justin Capozzoli smiles for a photo

Justin Cappozzoli

"I'm here; I'm alive; I exist. I was born in Warsaw, Poland, 1994. I was adopted at 11-months-old and couldn't have asked for better parents!

I am on the autism spectrum. Musically, I've been a singer since ever, a song-writer since age 8, a music producer since age 11, a DJ since age 18, and a live sound engineer since age 24. I earned my bachelor's degree in Music Industry from York College of PA, 2016."

...and more to be announced!

Sponsored by Duquesne University Department of Psychology and the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Contact Elizabeth Fein at feine@duq.edu with any questions or for more information.