History of IAMM

The International Association for Music & Medicine is a registered non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to encourage and support the use of music in medical contexts including research into the benefits of music, and its specialised applications in healthcare. Our global mission is to support the development of such benefits in developing countries. Find out more about the history of IAMM here.


International Society for Music in Medicine (ISMM) is founded in 1982 by the anesthesiologists Ralph Spintge and Roland Droh.


David Aldridge and Joanne Loewy identify Founding Members who agree to help form the International Association for Music and Medicine.


Drs. Joanne Loewy and David Aldridge invite founding members to the inaugural meeting of the IAMM, which takes place at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Dr. Jane Edwards is appointed as the first President of the IAMM.

Founding members, including physicians, musicians, music and creative arts therapists, healthcare practitioners, researchers, neuroscientists, and other professionals, join from around the globe, united around the shared goal of building a world community of music and medicine.


Music and Medicine, the official journal of IAMM, is created. Joanne Loewy and David Aldridge are the original co-editors.

The goals for IAMM are stated in the first volume of Music and Medicine:

"Our intention is to provide a venue for the development of theory based on practice, and we will draw on specific research in music and medicine. We invite participation through dialogue about the impact that music has on the brain, for human physiology, and in developing unique clinical areas, such as sleep investigations and pain management. Topics such as these are being addressed today but are published diversely in other journals. This means that we have a scattered body of knowledge, which we hope to unify within these pages. Although the fields of medicine, nursing, music, and music therapy have developed several venues for sharing clinical activity and research trials, there is currently no distinct journal devoted to the fields that integrate medical music therapy, and music and medicine. These individual disciplines are growing internationally but each separate from the other. Our intention is to bring that knowledge together"

Loewy & Aldridge, p. 1, Volume, 1, Music and Medicine, 2009.


Dr. Ralph Spintge succeeds Dr. David Aldridge as co-editor of Music and Medicine.

November 4-6, 2010

The 1st International Conference of the IAMM takes place at the Mozart & Science meeting in Krems, Austria, hosted by Vera Brandes and Dr. Gerhard Tucek.

July 5-7, 2012

The 2nd International Conference of Music & Medicine “The Power of Music in Medicine and Health Care” takes place at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by Dr. Bussakorn Binson.

June 24-27, 2014

The 3rd International Conference of the IAMM takes place in Toronto, Canada, hosted by Dr. Lee Bartel and Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes.

June 11-15, 2016

The 4th International Conference of the IAMM takes place in Beijing, China, hosted by Dr. Tian Gao, Jing-Wen Zhang, and Bing Li.

A new president is elected: Dr. Patravoot Vatanasapt.

June 7-9, 2018

The 5th International Conference of the IAMM takes place in Barcelona, Spain, hosted by Núria Escudé and Dr. Josep Planas.


Special Interest Groups, composed of experts from various disciplines and continents, formed in 2019 in preparation for IAMM2020.

May, 2020

Virtual Ensemble of IAMM and World Federation of Music Therapy members performs “Music is…” composed by Salvador Brotons and with lyrics written by Dr. Suzanne Hanser.

May 30-31, 2020

The 6th International Conference of the IAMM, originally planned to happen in Boston, USA, is adapted to happen online amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic.

A new president is elected: Dr. Suzanne Hanser.

Accepted papers and posters are recorded and posted for conference registrants.

June - August, 2020

Special Interest Group Webinars take place.

June 2020

Dr. Psyche Loui is appointed Chair of Music & Neuroscience Task Force.

August, 2020

Brian Schreck is appointed Chair of Music & Technology Task Force.

September, 2020 - July, 2021

IAMM With You: In Conversation offers global expertise on diverse approaches to music and medicine/health. 

February 16, 2021

First Global Cafe from China takes place in English and Chinese.

February, 2021

Cara Smith and Yuqi Zhang are appointed Co-chairs of IAMM's Student Task Force.

July - August, 2020

IAMM Summer Book Club invites authors to discuss "Sing You Home," “Scales to Scalpels,” “Music as Care: Artistry in the Hospital Environment,” and “Experiencing Race as a Music Therapist.”

Learn more about the history of IAMM

Founding Members Drs. Joanne Loewy, Jane Edwards, Patravoot Vatanasapt, Concetta Tomaino, and Suzanne Hanser respond to the following questions about IAMM: