Paul Nordoff (June 4, 1909 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – January 18, 1977 in Herdecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany) was an American composer and music therapist, anthroposophist and initiator of the Nordoff-Robbins method of music therapy. His music is generally tonal and neo-Romantic in style.
Born in Philadelphia, he studied the piano at the Philadelphia Conservatory, receiving a B.M. degree in 1927 and an M.M. degree in 1932. He later studied with Rubin Goldmark at the Juilliard School and in 1960 he received a Bachelor of Music Therapy from the Combs College of Music in Philadelphia. He served as head of composition at the Philadelphia Conservatory (1938–1943), a teacher at Michigan State College (1945–1949), and professor of music at Bard College(1948–1959). While still a student he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner and became a member of the Anthroposophical Society in 1943, visiting its centre in Dornach to lecture at the conferences held there on Music after 1954.
His work as a composer was acknowledged by two Guggenheim Fellowships (in 1933 and 1935) and the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for music. In 1958 he gave up his academic career, convinced of the power of music as therapy for disabled children. Encouraged by colleagues in research and psychology, he began his explorations with disabled children in Great Britain and Europe, teaming up with Dr Clive Robbins, a special educator committed to music as a medium of therapy.
From 1958 to 1960 Paul Nordoff worked in Sunfield Homes together with Michael Wilson and Dr Herbert Geuter, the son of founder Fried Geuter, both accomplished musicians conversant with the field of music therapy themselves. Thereafter he visited 26 institutions offering Special Needs education, introducing his methods in England, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.
Thereafter, they worked together in a research programme beginning in 1961 for two years, in which they treated children with severe handicap in public schools in Philadelphia by means of music therapy, with astonishing results on their ability to learn. Also autistic children were activated and enlivened through their therapy sessions with music.
He was married to the American Eurythmist Sabina Nordoff.
He composed the score to three of Martha Graham's ballets: Praeludium (1935), Every Soul Is a Circus (1939) and Salem Shore (1943).
Nordoff's music was published by Associated, Carl Fischer, Theodore Presser, and G. Schirmer.
Two films featuring their work were broadcast on BBC Television. In 1976, musicians and managers in the British music industry formed the Silver Clef fund-raising organization to support all the activities of the Centre.
Clive Robbins joined Sunfield as a teacher in 1954 and it was here that he met Paul Nordoff when he came to visit. Encouraged by Dr Herbert Geuter to play to one of the boys and observe the results, Paul Nordoff quickly became inspired by the potential of music to communicate something to severely disabled children. Clive Robbins, equally inspired, teamed up with him to research and develop what is known today as the Nordoff-Robbins method of music therapy, pioneered and still practiced at Sunfield today.
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy is an improvisational and compositional approach to individual and group therapy that resulted from the pioneering teamwork of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins over a period of 17 years. The early development of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy resulted from Nordoff and Robbins' similar philosophical background, the supportive environment of Sunfield Children's Home, the guidance of Herbert Geuter, M.D., and their courage. Since the 1959-1960 academic year, the application and practice of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy has undergone many changes. However, the pioneering spirit of Nordoff and Robbins manifested in that watershed year remains strong among contemporary Nordoff-Robbins music therapy practitioners.
Nordoff died in Herdecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany in 1977 at the age of 67.
Bryn Mawr is a census-designated place (CDP), located entirely in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia along Lancaster Avenue (US-30) and the border with Delaware County.
Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of musical interventions to improve clients' quality of life. Music therapists use music and its many facets— physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual— to help clients improve their health in cognitive, motor, emotional, communicative, social, sensory, and educational domains by using both active and receptive music experiences. These experiences include improvisation, re-creation, composition, receptive methods, and discussion of music.
The Philadelphia Main Line, known simply as the Main Line, is an informally delineated historical and social region of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lying along the former Pennsylvania Railroad's once prestigious Main Line, it runs northwest from Center City Philadelphia parallel to Lancaster Avenue.
The Theodore Presser Company is an American music publishing and distribution company located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, formerly King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and originally based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States. It has been owned by Carl Fischer Music since 2004.
Helen Herron Taft Manning was an American professor of history and college dean. She was the middle child and only daughter of U.S. President William Howard Taft and his wife Helen Herron.
The Nordoff–Robbins approach to music therapy, also known as creative music therapy, developed from the 17-year collaboration of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins beginning in 1958. It was originally devised as a therapy for children with psychological, physical, or developmental disabilities. Its early development was influenced by Rudolph Steiner and anthroposophical philosophy and teachings. Nordoff–Robbins music therapy is grounded in the belief that everyone can respond to music, no matter how ill or disabled. It holds that the unique qualities of music as therapy can enhance communication, support change, and enable people to live more resourcefully and creatively. Nordoff-Robbins music therapists practice worldwide and have graduated from training programs around the world including England, the USA, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and the Far East.
G. W. & W. D. Hewitt was a prominent architectural firm in the eastern United States at the turn of the twentieth century. It was founded in Philadelphia in 1878, by brothers George Wattson Hewitt (1841–1916) and William Dempster Hewitt (1847–1924), both members of the American Institute of Architects. The firm specialized in churches, hotels and palatial residences, especially crenelated mansions such as Maybrook (1881), Druim Moir (1885–86) and Boldt Castle (1900–04). The last was built for George C. Boldt, owner of Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (1902–04), G.W. & W.D. Hewitt's most well-known building.
Harcum College is an associate degree-granting residential college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1915 and was the first college in Pennsylvania authorized to grant associate degrees.
Combs College of Music was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1885 as Combs Broad Street Conservatory of Music by Gilbert Raynolds Combs, celebrated pianist, organist and composer.
Giora Schmidt is an American/Israeli violinist.
In 2007 neurologist Oliver Sacks released his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain in which he explores a range of psychological and physiological ailments and their intriguing connections to music. It is broken down into four parts, each with a distinctive theme; part one titled Haunted by Music examines mysterious onsets of musicality and musicophilia. Part two A Range of Musicality looks at musical oddities musical synesthesia. Parts three and four are pretty self explanatory, titled Memory, Movement, and Music and Emotions, Identity, and Music respectively. Each part has between six and eight chapters, each of which is in turn dedicated to a particular case study that fit the overarching theme of the section. Presenting the book in this fashion makes the reading a little disjointed if one is doing so cover to cover, however, it also means one may pick up the book and flip to any chapter for a quick read without losing any context. Four case studies from the book are featured in the NOVA program Musical Minds aired on June 30, 2009.
Addison Hutton (1834–1916) was a Philadelphia architect who designed prominent residences in Philadelphia and its suburbs, plus courthouses, hospitals, and libraries, including the Ridgway Library and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He made major additions to the campuses of Westtown School, George School, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Lehigh University.
Robert Charles Suderburg was an American composer, conductor, and pianist.
Rock Therapy was a 1996 one-off project consisting of Queen guitarist Brian May, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, plus a number of guest vocalists including Sam Brown, Andy Fairweather-Low, Paul Rodgers and Lulu. This was a 3-track charity CD issued in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre, which helps special needs children to communicate through the medium of music.
The O2 Silver Clef Awards is an annual UK music awards lunch which has been running since 1976.
Donald Harris was an American composer who taught music at The Ohio State University for 22 years. He was Dean of the College of the Arts from 1988 to 1997.
Michael Wilson, was a musician, curative educator, scientist, translator and General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain
Clive Robbins, was a British music therapist, Special Needs educator, anthroposophist and co-founder of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy.
Sunfield is an Independent special school, Children's Home and charity on the border of Worcestershire and the West Midlands in England. It was founded in 1930 and now supports boys and girls, aged 6 – 19 years, with complex learning needs, including autism.
Stephen Joseph Herben Jr. was an American professor of philology at Bryn Mawr College. He specialized in English and German philology, and among other places did work at the American-Scandinavian Foundation in Copenhagen and Oxford University, as well as at Rutgers, Princeton, and Stanford University. His work included assistance with the etymological work of the second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary, and two articles on medieval literary descriptions of weapons and armor. The second of these articles, "Arms and Armour in Chaucer", is still considered a standard on the subject.