We will kick off HKGNA Music Festival 2020 in the Spirit of Wellness, with a series of Global Online Music Therapy Events “Music Heals!” This event features experienced Music Therapists and educators; including Dr. Ken Aigen, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapist and Program Director of NYU/ Steinhardt Music Therapy; Dr. Irene Feher, Voice Professor at Concordia University’s Department of Music,Quebec; Dr. Chong Hyun Ju, the Chair of Music Therapy at Ewha Womans University; inspiring autism advocate, Aaltje van Zweden, Founder of Papageno Foundation and the Head of their music therapist project, Mathieu Pater. This series is supported by the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau, Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, Netherlands Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong and the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, as well as the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong.

U.S. Session | Nov 7 (Sat)  |  10am (GMT+8)
Description: In this lecture, Dr. Ken Aigen will show how the creative approach of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy can address the needs of elderly clients. Their isolation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the suffering exacted on them has taken a toll on their healthcare workers. The talk will conclude with an illustration of how music therapists have extended care to these colleagues, suggesting that it is effective just because it exemplifies how music reflects fundamental aspects of our shared humanity.

Dr. Ken Aigen

Kenneth Aigen is a music therapist whose clinical specialties include work with children and adolescents with emotional and developmental delays, and adults in mental health. His research uses musicological analyses to reveal connections between the elements of music and common cognitive, emotional, and physical goals in music therapy. He lectures internationally and has authored numerous publications on Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, pop music in music therapy, and qualitative research methodology. Two of his books, Paths of Development in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and Music-Centered Music Therapy, have been translated into Japanese and Korean. Aigen is a past–president of the American Association for Music Therapy, a recipient of the Research and Publications Award from the American Music Therapy Association, and he was the scientific committee chairman for the Ninth World Congress of Music Therapy. His most recent book is The Study of Music Therapy: Core Issues and Concepts published by Routledge in December 2013. Aigen received his doctorate from New York University in 1991 and for 15 years he was the research director and then co-director of the NordoffRobbins Center for Music Therapy at NYU. From 2006 until returning to Steinhardt in 2013, Aigen was an associate professor in music therapy at Temple University where he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Canada Session | Nov 14 (Sat)  |  10am (GMT+8)
Description: Mezzo-soprano and voice professor Dr. Irene Feher will talk about the unexpected turn her career took when she embraced free improvisation. Motivated by the positive effects that musical self-expression had on her own life, she studied the art of music facilitation, and now uses music to promote wellness and to serve the community at large. Inspired by Concordia University’s mandate to promote student health, she spearheaded the project “Live Your Music at Concordia – Music Health Breaks,” to combat growing levels of stress, anxiety, and isolation among University students. The overall goal of this talk is to underline the value of recreational music making so more efforts can be put towards creating music programs that are accessible to everyone.

For the first time in a public address, Irene will talk about her lifelong visual impairment and the challenges she has overcome. In doing so, she hopes to inspire others to follow their musical path. Finally, Irene is thrilled to present a virtual musical collaboration with HKGNA musical angel Lee Shing. 

Dr. Irene Feher

Mezzo-soprano and multi-instrumentalist, Dr. Irene Feher (D.Mus) thrives on
performing, teaching, and building community through inclusive facilitated music improvisation workshops. A part time faculty member of Concordia’s Department of Music, Irene teaches classical and contemporary singing, and facilitates the “Live Your Music at Concordia – Music Health Breaks” Project, which she developed in 2018 with support from Concordia’s Student Success Center and generous funding from a Concordia music alumnus. Irene is also a music improvisation facilitator and leadership trainer for the Music for People organization. Since early spring, Irene has been collaborating with Music for People’s international teaching staff on a number of online projects: Irene presented an online sing-along concert “The Golden Age of Musical Theatre” for the “Music Alive! Series”; co-presented a workshop “Music for People – Opening the Way for Everyone to Play” as part of the International Society for Music Education’s Commission for Community Music Activity Pre-Conference Seminar; co-created the online series “Fill Your Home with Music”. and, co-organized and co-facilitated Music for People’s first ever online version of “Art of Improvisation”. Irene is currently co-designing an online curriculum for Music for People’s Musicianship Leadership Program and will be facilitating online improvisation workshops through the coming fall and winter.

Korea Session | Nov 21 (Sat)  |  10am (GMT+8)

Description:  Dr. Chong Hyun Ju, music therapy professor at Ewha Womans University will share with us the practice of music therapy – what makes music therapeutic, when does our relationship with music begin, how music helps with emotional healing in all of us, and how to use music to take care of ourselves during this pandemic at her “Music Heals!”event. 

Dr. Chong Hyun Ju

Hyun Ju Chong. PhD., MT-BC, is a board certified music therapist by AMTA and is currently teaching at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. Professor Chong has received music therapy academic degrees from Western Illinois University, Temple University and University of Kansas in USA. She is currently serving as the President of Korean Music Therapy Education Association (KOMTEA), editor for International Association for Music and Medicine (IAMM). Her research interest involves mainly music cognition, music psychotherapy and music for emotional regulation. She has published more than 10 books in music therapy, and 50 research papers in acknowledged journals. She is also invited to give keynote speech and plenary talks for international conferences.

Netherlands Session | Nov 28 (Sat)  |  10am (GMT+8)

Aaltje van Zweden & Mathieu Pater


Aaltje van Zweden, inspirational autism advocate and Founder of Papageno Foundation, and Mathieu Pater, Head of Music Therapy of Papageno Foundation will share how music therapy transforms lives of autistic children with personal experiences and music therapy demonstrations.

Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren (1963) is founder and board member of the Papageno Foundation, which has provided support to families of children with autism children since 1997.

In 2015 she opened Papageno House, which provides support, therapy and work experience on a residential and daycare basis for young adults with autism. Her involvement has a very personal element to it: one of the four children that she and her husband, the conductor Jaap van Zweden, has autism.

Aaltje van Zweden was born in Haiti, raised in the Netherlands, and studied at what is now the Breitner Academy of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK). From the same academic institution, she later acquired a Master’s degree specialized in art education for children with disabilities.

Since 2011, Aaltje has been a board member of the Autism Treatment Center in Texas and, since 2017, of the Maatschappelijke Alliantie (Major Alliance). She regularly gives lectures nationally and internationally on autism, art education and the importance of music therapy.

Aaltje van Zweden was inducted into the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2012 in recognition of her work for the Papageno Foundation. In 2016, she received the prestigious Hélène de Montigny prize. Her book Om wie je bent (For who you are) was published by AmboAnthos in 2017.

Aaltje van Zweden writes columns in Dutch which are published on the blog page of the Papageno Foundation.

“Music Heals!”  Supported by

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