Peter Vuust is a unique combination of a renowned scientist and a world class musician. As a researcher, he is Denmark’s leading expert in the field of music and the brain – a research field he has single-handedly built up as leader of the group Music In the Brain. He is internationally recognised, widely quoted and received in October 2014 DKK 52 million and in August 2020 DKK 46 million from the Danish National Research Foundation’s centre to found the Center for Music In the Brain.
He is the embodiment of multidisciplinarity with his academic background as a PhD in Neuroscience and MSc. in Mathematics, French and Music. This is combined with an exceptional career as a musician playing and recording with international jazz stars, such as Lars Jansson, Tim Hagans, John Abercrombie and Jukkis Uotila, and his appearance on more than 100 records, 6 of these as band leader earning him the “Gaffel Prize” from the Danish Jazz Society in 2008 and a Danish Music Award nomination in 2014 for his album September song with his own quartet and Veronica Mortensen.
His primary research area is the study of musical rhythm and groove, but he has made substantial contributions regarding music melody and harmony the emotional impact of music neuroplasticity, clinical applications of music and research into general theories about brain organization. Several of his works are considered pioneering in the field, and his 2009 paper on predictive coding of music in which he was first to point to predictive coding as an explanatory framework for functional integration in musical processing, and his comment in Behaviural and Brain Sciences with Chris Frith arguing for music’s strong potential to inform our understanding of predictive coding in general, has anticipated what is now considered a leading trend in cognitive science. Vuust collaborates and publishes with some of today’s most influential researchers in the field of cognitive neuroscience (e.g. Karl Friston, Chris Frith, Risto Näätänen, Sonja Kotz) and within the specialized field of music and neuroscience (e.g. Stefan Koelsch, Virginia Penhune, Robert Zatorre and Petri Toiviainen).
Since 2006, Peter Vuust leads the multidisciplinary research group Music In the Brain in collaboration with Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN), Aarhus University Hospital and Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg (RAMA). The group has from it´s beginning aimed to understand the neural processing of music, by using a combination af advanced music theory, behavioral experience, and state-of-the-art brain scanning methods. This research has the potential to significantly influence the way we play, teach, and use music clinically, and impact on our understanding of human brain function in general. Owing to the Danish National Research Foundation’s centre grant, the group, in 2015, transformed into a Center for Music In the Brain, consisting of PhDs, post-docs and a wide international network of collaborators who engage through weekly meetings, workshops and international symposia – a center which Peter is now the daily leader of.
The combination of an impressive musical carrier and a strong research profile with an entirely unconventional educational background gives him completely unique qualifications to reach a wide audience. He is a very popular speaker with a gift to communicate to any audience – be it scientists, students or laymen – in an educative and entertaining manner.
Read more from the Center for Music in the Brain website here.