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Swedish neuroscientist, concert pianist Fredrik Ullén visiting UI Sept 4-6 for seminars, recital

Fredrik Ullen, PhD


Art and science will come together when Swedish neuroscientist and concert pianist Fredrik Ullén visits the University of Iowa Sept 4-6. He will present a seminar on neuropsychological mechanisms of musical expertise and will offer a piano recital during his visit.

The Iowa Neuroscience Institute (INI) is hosting Ullén, in collaboration with the UI School of Music, as part of its mission to explore how insights gleaned from neuroscience relate to our shared human experience. Two events during his visit are free and open to the public:




  • Tuesday, Sept 5, 4 p.m., 1110A MERF: Scientific seminar
    “Gene-environment interplay in skill learning and expertise: what have we learned from research on music?”
    Reception with light refreshments to follow
  • Wednesday, Sept 6, 7:30 p.m., Voxman Recital Hall: Informal talk followed by piano recital
    “A man with many muses: science, art, and Ligeti’s etudes for the piano”
    Piano etudes of György Ligeti, Books 1 and 2


Ullén is director of the department of cognitive neuropsychology at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. The Institute aims to use scientific methods to explain the psychological, neuronal, and socio-cultural basis of aesthetic perceptions and judgements. 

He is also an active concert pianist who has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at many leading venues throughout Europe and in the US. His recordings include a collection of Chopin transcriptions and Ligeti's complete works for piano. In 1996, he became the first person to record the second book of Ligeti's Études. 

He is a fellow of  Academia Europaea and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Monday, August 14, 2023