Event Details

UnRavelled cover image

With generous support from The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration and in partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, UCSF Memory and Aging Center, and the Global Brain Health Institute, Jake Broder, James Bonas, and Cath Brittan present UnRavelled, the story of Dr. Anne Adams and her obsession with Ravel’s Bolero. How she, through her diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), developed as a painter and became a remarkable artist. Through her story, the play also uncovers the mystery of Ravel’s similar diagnosis almost 100 years earlier.

This will be a live multimedia event marrying theater, live music, visual art and science. It will include a panel featuring Jake BroderBruce MillerVirginia Sturm (UCSF/GBHI), Susan Dickinson (Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration), Lucy Davenport (UnRavelled), and Richard Tsai (Denali Therapeutics), moderated by Emily Silverman (UCSF/The Nocturnists).


Created & Written by Jake Broder
Arrangement of Ravel’s Bolero by Simon Parkin

Director – James Bonas
Conductor – David Baker
Video Designer – Adam Larsen
Sound Designer – Jeff Gardner
Interstitial Musical Arrangements – Mark Grey
Dramaturg – Nike Doukas

Anne Adams – Lucy Davenport
Robert Adams – Rob Nagle
Maurice Ravel – Conor Duffy
Dr. Miller – Leo Marks
Ida Rubenstein/Carol – Melissa Greenspan

Producer – Cath Brittan
Stage Manager – Pat Loeb


The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, and the Global Brain Health Institute joined forces in 2019 to explore the intersection of music, creativity, and brain science. Through this innovative collaboration, we work together to produce an annual series of public-facing educational programming. The programs highlight novel scientific research and core principles of music and music theory, with presenters from both institutions and exemplary musical performances. Ultimately, the programs raise awareness of innovations in brain health and music to a broad audience.

To learn more, click here: A Symphony of Possibilities

Visit the SFCM event page


The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD)

Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) is the most common dementia for people under 60. In the U.S. alone it affects more than 60,000 people – a number that is very likely an undercount, as FTD remains frequently misdiagnosed today.

For more than 20 years, The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (theaftd.org) has worked with dedicated volunteers and donors to elevate the stories and perspectives of a resilient community. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by FTD, and drive research to a cure. AFTD advances collaborative research; supports all directly impacted by FTD; raises awareness and educates healthcare professionals; and advocates for appropriate, affordable services.

Today, FTD is incurable and there are no approved therapies to slow or alter its course. But awareness is growing. Every FTD story counts in ensuring that families and healthcare professionals have vital information they need. Every FTD story can help emerging research bring the first disease-modifying treatments for this disease to reality. Together, as a global community, we can #endFTD.


San Francisco Conservatory of Music

SFCM draws on the bold creativity of San Francisco to offer unparalleled training for the 21st century musician. We support students in developing the skills and vision to chart successful careers and advance the human experience through music.

We believe a musical education must extend far beyond technical and performance skills. Our commitment to music of enduring quality and importance is the foundation of our innovative curriculum, cultivating critical thinking and business acumen alongside artistic practice, and creating a transformative environment of inquiry, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

Our DNA combines a global perspective with the unstoppable energy and imagination of our hometown. Our pioneering programs and partnerships with leading institutions and businesses prepare students to seize opportunities in music and a wide array of the fastest-developing sectors today. SFCM is a magnet for exceptional faculty whose ongoing professional experience benefits our students. As the only conservatory partnered with two leading artist management companies and a legendary record label, we are able to provide our students unique insight and access to the music industry.

UCSF Memory and Aging Center

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area. The UCSF Memory and Aging Center provides the highest quality of care for individuals with cognitive problems, conducts research on causes and cures for degenerative brain diseases, and educates health professionals, patients and their families.

Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

The Global Brain Health Institute is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health. GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia in three ways: by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy. GBHI strives to improve brain health for populations across the world, reaching into local communities and across our global network. GBHI brings together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and approaches to develop new science-based solutions. GBHI focuses on working compassionately with all people including those in vulnerable and under-served populations to improve outcomes and promote dignity for all people. GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Trinity College Dublin (Trinity). To learn more about GBHI, please visit us at gbhi.org or follow us on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.


If you have any questions, please contact niall.kavanagh@gbhi.org.


Current Fellows, Faculty, GBHI Mentors, Global Atlantic Fellows, People with Lived Experience of Dementia, Public, Regional Mentors, Staff