Alison Balbag, PhD, DMA

Instructional Assistant Professor of Gerontology


PhD, Harp Performance, USC
PhD, Gerontology, USC


Alison Balbag is a musician, gerontologist, educator, and academic entrepreneur. A double doctor in gerontology and harp performance, she investigates music’s influence on health and development across the lifespan. A strong advocate for the connection between the arts and health, her media coverage includes National Geographic, Psychology Today, Psychiatry Advisor, and The Californian. Balbag’s music background grants her a unique insight into the arts, health, and wellness connection. She has presented her research at conferences and invited lectures in the U.S. and Europe. A harpist, she’s soloed with orchestras, won first place in several solo competitions, and performed on-screen (Modern Family, Glee, PBS Great Performances). Balbag has played with artists including Stevie Wonder, Yo-Yo Ma, Pink Martini, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, and LeVar Burton. Additionally, she has recorded harp for film music scores and companies such as Google.