During the '90s, while Mr. Iyer was cultivating his artistic voice at late-night gigs, his daylight hours were spent working as a physics major at the University of California at Berkeley, where he produced a doctoral thesis that focused on "the role of the body in music perception and cognition"--that is, the part played by bodily experience in the comprehension of music. The two spheres may seem worlds apart. Yet, speaking of his two lives, the pianist reveals that in some ways, each was made possible by the other.
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