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Awakening the Mind: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Oliver Sacks

Awakening the Mind is a tribute to the remarkable life and work of Dr. Oliver Sacks. A physician, best-selling author, professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, and regular contributor to the World Science Festival, The New York Times called him “a poet laureate of contemporary medicine” and “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century.” With stories from friends, colleagues, patients, admirers, and Dr. Sacks himself, this multi-media memory piece of music, image, and language brings to life this extraordinary man who had an incalculable impact on the worlds of medicine and storytelling. Produced in partnership with the Oliver Sacks Foundation.

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Creative Team

John PlummerDirector

John Christian Plummer was head writer on all 3 seasons of Granite Flats, the cold war spy drama featuring Christopher Lloyd and Parker Posey, now on Netflix. He’s worked as a writer and producer for NBC, Fox, Bravo, Comedy Central, TBS, IFC, VH1, MTV, Discovery, and co-wrote the feature Knowing Me, Knowing You.

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59 ProductionsDesign

59 Productions combines technology and art to tell amazing stories. Whether creating stage productions, museum installations, live music shows, large-scale events, or films, 59’s team generates creative and technical ideas to help realize ambitious artistic projects.

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Participants

Timo AndresPianist

Timo Andres is a composer and pianist who studied at Yale University. A Nonesuch Records artist, his album, Home Stretch, has been hailed by The Guardian for its “playful intelligence and individuality.” Notable works include Strong Language, a string quartet for the Takacs Quartet, and The Blind Banister, a piano concerto for Jonathan Biss and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.

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Conor DoyleDancer

Conor Doyle graduated from The London Contemporary Dance School with a first class BA (Honors) and a Distinction in his Post Graduate Diploma, which he gained as an apprentice with artistic director Jasmin Vardimon. Conor is now a member of the Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company while working towards his Masters.

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Mairi Dorman-PhaneufCellist

Since 2002, Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf has held chairs in 14 Broadway productions, including The Bridges of Madison County, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and, currently, Fiddler on The Roof. She has been a featured performer with John Pizzarelli, Jeremy Jordan, and Jason Robert Brown.

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Michael BrownComposer, Pianist

Pianist-Composer Michael Brown, winner of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been described by The New York Times as a “young piano visionary” and “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers.”

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Aletta CollinsChoreographer

Aletta Collins studied at the London Contemporary Dance School and is a former associate artist at the Royal Opera House where her commissions include The Red Balloon, Cocteau Voices, and Magical Night.

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Christine EbersoleActor, Singer

Christine Ebersole has captivated audiences throughout her performing career, from the Broadway stage to television series and specials, films, concert appearances, and recordings.

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Eric JordanOpera Singer

Eric Jordan has been sought by opera companies for his trademark “big bass and presence to match” (Opera News). His voice is described as possessing “a resonant, ringing tone that was well produced throughout its range” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), and The New York Times stated that his “powerful, nuanced singing and thoughtful acting amounted to a wholly remarkable portrayal.”

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Tobias PickerComposer

Tobias Picker, called “our finest composer for the lyric stage” by The Wall Street Journal, has composed works in all genres including five operas to date. Picker’s operas have been commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera, The LA Opera, The Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera, and have gone on to be produced by New York City Opera, L’Opera de Montreal, and many other distinguished companies.

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Concetta TomainoMusic Therapist, Psychologist

Concetta Tomaino is the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. Dr. Tomaino is also the senior vice president for Music Therapy at CenterLight Health System where she has worked since 1980.

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John HockenberryJournalist

Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.

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