Dr. Alison Balbag
Alison Balbag is a double Dr. professor, musician, and healthspan-gerontologist. Having been fortunate to achieve two doctorates in separate fields—music and gerontology—her diverse background grants her a unique insight into connecting the dots.
Advocating for a shared future that serves everyone, she applies her background in gerontology—the science of aging—across many ecosystems in our lives: health and wellness, the arts, education, the environment, social justice, and civic progress.
As a harpist, she’s soloed with orchestras, placed first in competitions, premiered new works, and performed in orchestras and chamber ensembles. Her performances have aired on Classical KUSC—the largest classical music station in the U.S.—and on TV: Modern Family, Glee, and Great Performances. A versatile musician, she’s performed with Stevie Wonder, Pink Martini, Natalie Cole, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Itzhak Perlman, Josh Groban, and LeVar Burton. She’s also recorded harp for film scores and Google—a collaboration which won the Webby Award for Mobile Sites and Apps in Music.
Her research looks at music’s connections with health, well-being, and society at all ages across the lifespan. Her work has been some of the first to look at music’s long-term brain benefits. She regularly speaks about why music matters, and her media coverage includes National Geographic, Psychology Today, Psychiatry Advisor, Spirit, and The Los Angeles Times.
An innovative educator, Dr. Alison’s faculty posts range from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she taught music in underserved schools, to being a professor at the University of Southern California. Also an arts integration specialist, she’s developed programs for the LA Phil, The Colburn School, and the Technology Enhanced Arts Learning Project (TEAL).
Dr. Alison also serves as a city arts commissioner and is a candidate for Metro Councilor, District 3 in Oregon’s 2020 primary to serve the entire Portland metro region.