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The prize is named for Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute Co-founder David Mahoney.

It honors individuals who have significantly increased public awareness about brain science and disorders of the nervous system.

We will celebrate 2023 recipient Renée Fleming for her extraordinary commitment to research advocacy at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience.


We regret that due to extenuating circumstances, the David Mahoney Prize Symposium scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13, must be postponed. We will send an update when the new date is confirmed. If you have questions, please contact

Renée Fleming
Fleming is an American soprano who has won five Grammy Awards and the National Medal of Arts. She was recently appointed by the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health. In December, she will receive the 46th Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime artistic achievement. She is also a founding adviser of the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative and the Sound Health Network Initiative.

George Q. Daley, AB ’82, MD ’91 , PhD
Dean and the Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Hildegarde E. Mahoney
Co-Founder, Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute; Director, The Dana Foundation

For more information, please contact Caitlin Craig at or 617-384-8467.

2023 Recipient | Renée Fleming

For her extraordinary commitment to research advocacy at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience.

Renee Fleming smiling at the camera.Renée Fleming has performed on the stages of the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. Honored with five Grammy® awards and the U.S. National Medal of Arts, she has sung for momentous occasions, from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2014, she brought her voice to a vast new audience when she became the first classical artist to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. In May 2023, the World Health Organization appointed her as a Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health, and the following month, it was announced that she will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor this fall.

In recent years, Fleming has become a leading advocate for research at the intersection of arts, health, and neuroscience. As Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she launched the first ongoing collaboration between America’s National Cultural Center and the National Institutes of Health. She has presented her own program, Music and the Mind, in more than 50 cities around the world in collaboration with leading local researchers, physicians, and creative arts therapists. During the pandemic, she created Music and Mind LIVE, a weekly web show amassing nearly 700,000 views from 70 countries. She is now a founding advisor for major initiatives, including the Sound Health Network at the University of California San Francisco and the NeuroArts Blueprint, a project of Johns Hopkins University and the Aspen Institute.

In addition to leading SongStudio at Carnegie Hall, Fleming is Co-Director of the Aspen Opera Center and VocalARTS at the Aspen Music Festival and Advisor for Special Projects at LA Opera. Other awards include the 2023 Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum, the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the Polar Music Prize, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and France’s Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur. She holds honorary doctorates from eight leading universities, including Harvard.