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Cara Fesjian

EZ8A9441Cara Zydor Fesjian is a musician and researcher originally from New York. She holds degrees in Music Composition and Cognitive Science from the University of Southern California. As a member of the USC Chamber Singers, she went on international tours, including to Seoul, Korea for the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music, and sang with the LA Phil, LA Chamber Orchestra, and LA Master Chorale. She has also performed at the Staples and Honda Centers backing up the Rolling Stones.

As a child, Cara was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, with ensemble and solo roles in over 200 performances. She sang alongside Denyce Graves, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and others. She was selected by the Met in 2005 to play the solo role of Emmy in the Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. This immersion into professional musical productions at a young age fed into her love of writing music. She has written multiple choral pieces, as well as works for winds, strings, and orchestra. She has produced and composed scores for student films at USC and the New York Film Academy, and she continues to arrange music for a cappella groups and dance productions in New York and LA.

The clear connections between music and emotion led to her fascination with the neuroscience of auditory processes. In addition to teaching at LAMusArt, Cara works as a neuroscience researcher at the USC Brain & Creativity Institute, studying the effects of music training on the brain, empathy skills, and development in general. She is also affiliated with the Yale Brain Function Lab, where she worked on pioneering neuroimaging research related to group singing and social cognition. She has won multiple awards for her music cognition research as well as for her music compositions. Cara is an avid concert-goer who loves to experiment with music technology, go to tech meetups, and explore nature on runs and open water swims.