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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Leverhulme Lecture: The Psychology of Musical Ensemble Performance: Basic Mechanisms of Interpersonal Coordination

12th May 2014, 17:30 to 18:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Peter Keller (The MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney)

Musical ensemble performance places exceptional demands upon the cognitive and motor capacities of co-performers. A remarkable feature of ensemble performance is the exquisite balance that individuals are able to achieve between precision and flexibility in interpersonal coordination.

This lecture will address the psychological processes and brain mechanisms that enable such coordination. First Professor Keller will outline a theoretical framework and empirical approach for studying factors that determine the quality of ensemble cohesion. Then will describe key findings of research on the role of individual differences in cognitive-motor ensemble skills that allow co-performers to anticipate, attend, and adapt to each other’s actions in real time.

The Music Department is delighted to announce the arrival of Peter Keller as Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor. Professor Keller will be in Durham for 3 months from the middle of April, working with Professor Martin Clayton and other colleagues on collaborative research into the topic of musical entrainment (coordination in group music making). During this time Prof. Keller will also be giving two public ‘Leverhulme Lectures’, presented in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Study. For more detail, please contact Martin Clayton (

Peter Keller received degrees in Music and Psychology from the University of New South Wales in Australia. His research is aimed at understanding the behavioural and brain bases of human interaction in musical contexts. Keller has held research positions at Haskins Laboratories (New Haven, USA), the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research (Munich, Germany), and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany), where he led the Music Cognition and Action group from 2007 until 2012. The group pioneered the study of relationships between behavior in naturalistic musical settings and controlled laboratory experiments. Keller has served as Editor of the interdisciplinary journal ‘Empirical Musicology Review’ (2010-2012) and is a Consulting Editor for 'Music Perception' and 'Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain'. He is currently an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science in the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney.

Contact for more information about this event.