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Jul 04, 2017
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global Fellow Ben Folds improvises live piece of music with National Symphony Orchestra

Salzburg Global Fellow creates live piece of music during #SoundHealth in Concert: Music and the Mind Ben Folds at Session 547 - The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?

Salzburg Global Fellow Ben Folds has created a buzz on social media after improvising a live piece of music while on stage with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Folds, an acclaimed singer-songwriter and record producer, performed the piece during #SoundHealth in Concert: Music and the Mind, held at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. 

At the time of writing, a clip of the performance has received more than eight million views on Facebook and has been shared more than 96,000 times. 

Before attempting the challenge, Folds was introduced on stage by Dr. Charles Limb, another Salzburg Global Fellow.

In the segment, Dr. Limb, a renowned surgeon, neuroscientist, and musician, asks the audience for a key, tempo, and "interesting sentence" for Folds to work with.

Once these ingredients are noted down, Folds takes just 10 minutes to improvise a new piece of music with the National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edwin Outwater.

Both Folds and Dr. Limb attended Salzburg Global in 2015 for Session 547 - The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? Folds was a participant while Dr. Limb co-chaired the session.

The session brought together an inspiring and unusual mix of 50 artists, scientists, physicians, psychologists, sociologists - and more - to explore the field of neurology of art and to create a collaborative international platform to identify and address emerging issues at the creative intersection of neuroscience and art.

Watch Folds' performance below.