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In memory of a beloved, brilliant mind: Oliver Sacks

oliver sacks
"I haven’t heard of a human being who isn’t musical, or who doesn’t respond to music one way or another. I think we are an essentially, profoundly musical species. And I don't know whether - for all I know, language piggybacked on music." - Dr. Oliver Sacks, Columbia University 2006.

An English neurologist, famed author and skilled pianist, Dr. Oliver Sacks was a compassionate writer and doctor with a love for music and science. Fascinated by music, mysteries of the mind and the human condition, he wrote best-selling case histories of his patients’ disorders. 

oliver sacks musicophilia


His intellectual curiosity led him to dive into the relationship between music and the mind. In 2007, he published a book, Musicophilia, which was devoted to precisely this research. His adept ability to show what happens when music and the mind mix it up is powerful.

In Musicophilia, he explores the influence of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians and everyday people. His storytelling illustrates how music arouses people with Parkinson's disease who otherwise cannot move. He shows us how music gives words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak. And he continues to move us to the depths of our emotions when he shows us that music can calm and organize people whose memories are impaired by Alzheimer's or amnesia.

Relating to Nietzsche’s assertion that listening to Bizet made him a better philosopher, Dr. Sacks declared, "I think Mozart makes me a better neurologist."

His final days

Dr. Oliver Sacks died on August 28, 2015 at his home in Greenwich Village, surrounded by his family and close friends. He was 82. His final days were spent doing what he enjoyed most - playing the piano, writing letters to friends, swimming, completing several articles.

We at ArtistWorks extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Sacks' family.