Speakers: April 5, 2019

Joy Allen

Chair, Berklee's Music Therapy Department; Acting Director, Berklee Music and Health Institute

Joy Allen joined Berklee as chair of the Music Therapy Department in August 2016. She is an accomplished clinician, supervisor, researcher, teacher, and administrator with extensive experience in psychological health, pain management, and the family system.

Allen has expertise working with children, adolescents, and adults with mental health issues, applying a family systems approach. She is particularly passionate about working with individuals and families facing chronic illnesses, including cancer. Her current research interests include quantitative analysis of the effects of music therapy on the psychological health of medical patients, guided imagery and music with medical patients, and medical music therapy theory development and efficacy. She comes to Berklee from Loyola University in New Orleans, where she served as coordinator of music therapy and associate professor.


Roger H. Brown

President, Berklee

Since his appointment in 2004, Roger Brown has pioneered the launch of a suite of educational institutes, including Africana Studies and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, among others; overseen the creation of the world’s largest online music education system; created an international campus in Valencia, Spain; and completed a merger with Boston Conservatory to establish the world’s most comprehensive training ground for global careers in music, dance, and theater.

Brown is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College and a graduate of the Yale School of Management. He cofounded Bright Horizons Family Solutions in 1986 with his wife, Linda Mason, and served as chief executive officer until January 2002. A former codirector of the Save the Children relief and development effort in Sudan, he and Mason coauthored the book Rice, Rivalry, and Politics, which examines the management of emergency relief efforts. He has served as a management consultant for Bain and Company, was one of the founders of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, and was a cofounder of Horizons for Homeless Children, which serves the needs of homeless children throughout the Boston area.

Brown has been recognized for his humanitarian, educational, and entrepreneurial achievements by the government of Valencia, Spain, with the Cruz de Honor; by the March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award; and by being named, along with Mason, as a visionary social entrepreneur at the 2012 Social Venture Network’s Hall of Fame Celebration.


Renee Connolly

Global Head of Communications and Corporate Responsibility for MilliporeSigma, the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Renee Connolly leads a global team that drives corporate reputation via an integrated communications strategy, including internal and external communications, employee engagement, corporate brand strategy, community affairs and corporate responsibility, and oversight of special projects, events, and programs throughout the Life Science network.

Prior to joining MilliporeSigma, Connolly was vice president of U.S. communications for EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, where she was responsible for external and internal communications and community affairs. Her background has long been embedded in public relations, having been general manager for the Euro-RSCG public relations firm and at the Noonan/Russo Agency in New York City. In roles of increasing responsibility at the agencies, she worked largely in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, partnering with companies at various stages on their public relations and investor relations needs, including leading communications around some key initial public offerings in the sector.

Connolly enjoys sparring with leadership team colleagues and teams to produce brilliant outcomes, and spending time giving back to the community by driving workplace diversity initiatives and helping to build the next bench of scientists in local schools. She sits on the board of the Massachusetts Conference for Women and is a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. She recently finished her tenure as the chairperson of the Mass BioEd Foundation Board. She has also volunteered in the MilliporeSigma cCuriosity Cube, helping to conduct science experiments with school kids. Connolly is a member of the Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association and the proud recipient of Working Mother’s 2011 Working Mother of the Year award.


Suzanne Hanser

Chair Emerita and Professor of Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music

Suzanne Hanser is past president of the World Federation of Music Therapy and National Association for Music Therapy. Her Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging launched a research agenda to develop and investigate the effects of music therapy on pain, anxiety, physiological changes, indicators of stress, and quality of life. She has conducted randomized clinical trials of the impact of music therapy protocols in oncology, geriatrics, cardiac rehabilitation, and family medicine. She established the music therapy program at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Hanser is the author of The New Music Therapist's Handbook and coauthor of Manage Your Stress and Pain, both the book and the CD, with Susan Mandel. Her latest book, Integrative Health through Music Therapy: Accompanying the Journey from Illness to Wellness, explores the use of ancient and contemporary music-based interventions in people who are suffering. In 2006, she was named by the Boston Globe as one of 11 Bostonians Changing the World. She is the recipient of a Sage Publications Prize and the American Music Therapy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Kathleen Howland

Professor of Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music 

Kathleen Howland is a music therapist and speech language pathologist who specializes in the neuroscience rationale for music-based interventions. She lectures nationally and internationally on music with neurogenic populations. Her TEDx discussion, How Music Can Heal the Heart and Brain, has been seen by over 110,000 viewers, and she curates the website Music Therapy Tales, an advocacy and educational site devoted to clinical stories in music. 

Howland is active in presenting grand rounds about music therapy in medical settings to physicians and therapists. She and her husband, Ed Harlow, host the annual jazz festivals in their hometown of Northborough, Massachusetts. The festival fulfills their belief that music can influence society in positive ways. The day combines red-hot jazz with cool green technology such as solar cooking contests and an electric car meet.


Brian Jantz

Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music

Brian Jantz has been active as a clinician, practicum site supervisor, course instructor, and researcher for over 20 years. He was part of the first graduating class of music therapists at Berklee in 1998 as a jazz guitarist, began teaching at the college in 2009, and earned his M.A. as well as full-time faculty status in 2017. He has extensive experience working and supervising within pediatric medical and psychiatric and substance abuse facilities, including McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts; Bournewood Psychiatric Hospital in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Jantz is currently involved with research and clinical work at Boston Children’s Hospital on the neurology, hematology, and child psychiatry units. A primary focus of his current research is examining the potential impact music therapy has on the need for sedating medications during procedures, restraint use in pediatric settings, and opioid use for chronic pain management. One of his ongoing studies examines the effect of music therapy as procedural support for pediatric patients with seizure disorders during electroencephalogram (EEG) testing. His recent regional and national conference presentations have focused on clinical applications of the blues genre and the American Music Therapy Association's (AMTA) national roster continuing education training (CMTE) for internship directors, as well as presentations aimed at informing music therapists of the important, active role they can play as part of the AMTA. Jantz presented in the fall of 2018 as part of a Berklee symposium on music therapy and substance use disorders, focusing primarily on related music therapy research, personal case examples, and considerations for pain management and self-care. In March 2019, Jantz presented on the effect of music therapy on pain perception and patient experience at Harvard Medical School as part of the Effective Pediatric Pain Management and End-of-Life Care conference for medical practitioners.

Annette Whitehead-Pleux

Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music

Annette Whitehead-Pleaux teaches classes in Berklee's undergraduate and graduate programs, including Music Therapy Research and Culturally Responsive Music Therapy. In addition to teaching at the college, she is an adjunct at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Colorado State University, and Lesley University. She teaches courses such as Music Therapy in Medicine and Health Care, Research in Music Therapy, Research Methods, Multicultural Music Therapy, and Power, Privilege, and Oppression, to name a few. She is the senior clinical supervisor at Roman Music Therapy Service, a large community music therapy center. Prior to her time there, she worked for nearly 15 years at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston. Her clinical work focused on pain and anxiety management, adaptive coping, trauma, and issues around disfigurement.

Whitehead-Pleux has also worked in mental health at public and private hospitals, on intimate partner violence, and with children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health concerns. In addition to education, clinical practice, and supervision, she has been an active researcher much of her career. Her research has focused on four areas: pain, anxiety, electronic music technology, and cultural responsiveness in music therapy. She is coeditor of Cultural Intersections in Music Therapy: Music, Health, and the Person

Whitehead-Pleux has been an advocate for music therapy through service to the profession for her entire career. She has held several positions regionally and nationally in the AMTA, including speaker of the assembly of delegates, council coordinator for association services, chair of the standards of clinical practice committee, regional representative to the research committee, and on the advisory team for the research priority, among others.