Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, wrote an evocative exploration of the evolution of consciousness at the request of Bruce Adolphe, with the idea that the text would be the basis of a new musical work composed for cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The result was Self Comes to Mind for cello and two percussionists.
The world premiere was given by Yo-Yo Ma with percussionists John Ferrari and Ayano Kataoka at the Museum of Natural History, New York, in 2009, with the text read by Dr. Damasio. Self Comes to Mind is in three movements: “When Mind First in the Body Bloomed”; “Self Came to Mind”; “Discovery”.
Ioana Uricaru created a film made of brain scan images by Hanna Damasio and including fragments of the text by Antonio Damasio to accompany the music. The film is available below. The performers here are cellist Mark Kosower and percussionists Ayano Kataoka and John Ferrari.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center recorded a concert performance of Self Comes to Mind featuring cellist Efe Baltacigil with percussionists Ayano Kataoka and David Ian Rosenbaum, available on YouTube and Spotify.
A year after the world premiere, Antonio Damasio's book Self Comes to Mind, unrelated to the musical score, was published.
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