The Wellcome Trust 75th Anniversary Summer Series
The Science of Singing: Supported by soprano Dame Gwyneth Jones
Saturday 18th June, 2:30 – 3:30pm at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Science and Singing exhibit and Remedy Bar, Monday 13th June until Saturday 18th June, 10.00 – 7:15pm, St David’s Hall, Cardiff
As part of the Wellcome Trust’s 75th Anniversary celebrations, soprano Dame Gwyneth Jones will take to the stage to present The Science of Singing in an innovative event to mark the anniversary. Inspired by groundbreaking achievements made by the Trust in vocal health, the science behind singing and music will be explored at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
On Saturday 18th June, Dame Gwyneth Jones will host an advanced vocal masterclass, building on the importance of vocal health and the benefits that singing can bring. Tom Harris, a leading vocal consultant and founding chairman of the Voice Research Society, will explain the science behind singing and the benefits it can bring to a individual’s health.
To complement this event, a Wellcome Trust exhibit installed at St David’s Hall,Cardiff, during the week of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, 13th-18th June, will explore the science of singing and music. Interactive activities for visitors will include the chance to auto-tune their voice, test their musical perception and try vocal remedies of myth and science at The Remedy Bar. The bar will serve a small selection of cures and aids that have been used by celebrities and professionals alike over the past 75 years, examining the science behind each one.
Dame Gwyneth Jones, who will be 75 in November, epitomizes the health and well-being benefits that singing can bring and the importance of looking after vocal health. At 28 years of age Dame Gwyneth replaced Leontyne Price in a New Guilini/Visconti Production of “Il Trovatore” at The Royal Opera Covent Garden resulting in immediate International acclaim and the beginning of her long successful career. Her powerful dramatic soprano voice and stage presence are widely admired, and she continues to be held in professional high regard.
Speaking about the science of singing, Tom Harris said, “In recent years research has continued to show the physical, psychological and emotional benefits that singing can bring. It exercises major muscle groups in the upper body encouraging oxygen flow into the bloodstream; this aerobic activity has been linked to stress reduction, longevity and better overall health.”
Over the past 75 years the Wellcome Trust has funded many ground breaking projects. Most recently, the Trust supported Professor Martin Birchall who developed techniques leading to a pioneering Larynx transplant, restoring the voice of a woman who had lost the ability to breathe and speak unaided over 11years. Professor Martin Birchall is the first surgeon ever to receive Trust funding.
Before this, and despite decades of effort, patients with advanced laryngeal disease were continuing to receive surgery where the techniques had not changed for 150 years. Funding from the Wellcome Trust has enabled a greater understanding of laryngotracheal transplantation and contributed to these developments in biomedical history.
This is another example of how the Wellcome Trust has revolutionized the biomedical industry and made huge strides in human and animal health, by supporting the biggest developments in biomedical science and medical humanities.