Initially a guitarist, since 1986 Ian Cross has taught in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he is Professor and Director of the Centre for Music & Science. He is also a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His research is interdisciplinary, guided by the aim of developing an integrated understanding of music as grounded in both biology and culture; he has published widely in the fields of music cognition, music theory, ethnomusicology, archaeological acoustics, psychoacoustics and, most recently, music and language evolution. His current research explores music as an interactive, communicative process.
Steven Friedson is University Distinguished Research Professor of Music and Anthropology and head of the ethnomusicology program at the University of North Texas. For the past twenty-five years he has been conducting research in Africa: first in Malawi, under the auspices of a Fulbright-Hays Grant and, for the past twenty years, in Ghana. He is author of Dancing Prophets Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing, and Remains of Ritual: Northern Gods in a Southern Land, winner of the 2010 Alan P. Merriam Prize for Outstanding Book in Ethnomusicology. He is currently working on the final book of a trilogy on music and ritual supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. In a previous life he was a member of the 60s rock band the Kingsmen.
Laurel Trainor is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University, a Research Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, and the Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM). She has published over 100 research articles on the neuroscience of auditory development and the perception of music in journals including Science, Nature, Journal of Neuroscience, Signal Processing, Cognition, Music Perception and Developmental Science. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and an Innovator of Distinction. She holds major grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Science Research Council of Canada and the Grammy Foundation. Laurel is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and maintains a high media profile. She has pioneered the study of musical development, showing that infants acquire the music system of their culture without instruction, just as they acquire language. Her work on rhythm perception shows that listening to a beat activates motor networks in the brain even in the absence of movement, and that this multisensory interaction is reflected in oscillatory networks that can be measured with EEG and MEG. Her studies show further that synchronous movement to a musical beat increases prosocial behavior even in infants. Laurel is also engaged in research using objective measures to study a wide range of auditory perceptual abilities under amplification by different hearing aid algorithms. Laurel is the founding director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, a multidisciplinary group of researchers whose mandate is to promote the scientific study of music, to promote music education, and to engage the community. This group has recently received a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and partners and is building a cutting edge laboratory/concert hall (LIVE Performance Lab) to study issues in music performance and performer-audience interactions in normal-hearing individuals and those with hearing impairments. Laurel also has a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Toronto, likes playing chamber music, and is currently principal flute of Symphony Hamilton.