She saved musicians’ lives

She saved musicians’ lives


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2014

We regret to report the death of Dr Alice Brandfonbrener, a pioneer in the rehabilitation of injured performers. She was 84.

After going to Aspen as a physician in 1978, she held a 1983 seminar there on performing arts medicine. Ever since, musicians beat a track to her Chicago door. She was director, from 1988, of the Medical Program for Performing Artists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “If someone comes in with a sprained wrist, I don’t just look at the wrist; I study the whole patient,” she said. “A musician’s medical condition frequently stems from multiple sources, including technique, physical conditioning, the repertoire, the instrument — even their emotional state.”.

Alice will be universally missed. If you have an Alice experience, do share.

Here’s a recent interview.

alice brandorfbrener

Video Interview: Alice Brandfonbrener from Performing Arts Medicine on Vimeo.


  • Mark Powell says:

    She did save lives.
    And careers.
    And whole ensembles.

    Her work and the way in which she went about it have led to similar efforts across our profession. This was a pioneer in every sense.

    RIP Alice.

    And, Thank You.

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Dear Alice,

    I remember when your daughter, Amy, was a Curtis student and you came to talk about Arts Medicine with Fred Hochberg and Bob Sataloff at a seminar for the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia at the invitation of Gary Graffman. I remember your talks at NASM (National Association of Schools of Music) in various cities and I was just thinking of you a few weeks ago when the topic of injured musicians came up at the San Francisco Conservatory. Your work on behalf of performing artists and their art showed your pioneering spirit at a time when musicians, young and old, had to hide their injuries to keep their jobs. We are forever in your debt. If hope you find the peace now that you offered to the world of music through your research, diagnoses, and treatment.