I recently learned that Alice Brandfonbrener passed away on May 31 of this year (2014). I was deeply saddened to learn this, as I’m certain were many, many other musicians and members of the arts community who had come to know her over her 83 years.
I first heard of Dr. Brandfonbrener in my capacity as Senior Editor at Polyphonic, but I know that she was a beacon of hope to so many musicians who’d experienced injuries during their professional life. I had the delight of having lunch with her at her Chicago apartment, overlooking the lake, when I attended a League conference in Chicago a few years ago. We had met online and over the phone, but this was the first time in person, and she just captivated me. I truly felt honored — I knew I was in the presence of someone incredibly special.
Her passion for music, and the musicians who make it, was so evident in her apartment, in her conversation, and in her life’s work. She truly put the concept of Music Medicine on the map, for all of us to reap the benefits now.
She wrote one of the first articles I was involved with for Polyphonic back in 2006. This article was my very first “Editor’s Choice” and I think it most appropriate to make it so again, as we honor her legacy. By being a musician herself, she opened so many medical doors, and explained away so many myths, that we all owe her a part of our professional health.
Rest in peace, Alice.