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The International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance (ISSTIP) was conceived in September 1980. It was founded and established by Professor Carola Grindea a piano pedagogue and pioneer in the study of releasing tension. According to Professor Grindea's own words: 'ISSTIP's existence was due to a response to an over-whelming concern with the debilitating effects of excess anxiety and tension experienced by performers in many areas such as music, theatre, sports, public debate' etc'.


In September 1981 ISSTIP launched its 1st International Conference at The Gipsy Hill Centre of Kingston Polytechnic in Surrey, England. In July 1983 the 2nd International Conference on Tension in Performance was held again at Kingston Polytechnic.

In November 1983 the ISSTIP Journal was created. ISSTIP annual journals have included book reviews, announcements of similar activities around the world and articles regarding tension in performance.

In 1986 the 1st ISSTIP Conference in USA took place. It was held at the Westminster Choir College in New Jersey. In 1989 another ISSTIP-USA International Conference was organised by Phyllis Lehrer at Westminster Choir College on the theme of Performance Anxiety.

Workshops and Seminars developed under ISSTIP with lectures and presentations by renowned international professionals in health and the performing arts.

In order to help musicians in all aspects of their problems, there was a necessity for professional medical support. Dr Ian James, Consultant Pharmacologist, had joined Carola Grindea and ISSTIP from the beginning and over the years a number of health practitioners who shared his interest in advising musicians were also involved. In 1984, he set up a Musician's Clinic at the Royal Free Hospital in London. In 1990 Dr Ian James created the British Performing Arts Medicine Trust (BPAMT). ISSTIP continued to develop and with the medical assistance of Dr C.B. Wynn Parry, Consultant in Physical Medicine, the first ISSTIP Performing Arts Clinic was founded at the London College of Music in Thames Valley University in May 1990. The ISSTIP clinics included musical experts and a professional medical and counselling team and ran regularly for ten years having assessed and advised 628 performing arts students and professionals.

In order to raise awareness and to train professionals ISSTIP created the first Course on Health and the Performing Arts ─ Prevention is Better than Cure in March of 1992 at the Thames Valley University that was followed by the second Course in 1993.

In October of 1997 the 1st International Forum on Health and the Performing Arts was held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, followed by a second International Forum in May 1999.

In October 2002 in an effort to educate professionals in recognising musicians' problems ISSTIP created the Music-Medicine Therapy Course, which was the first of its kind in the UK. A second Course followed in 2003 and an intensive third Course in the same year was held at Trinity College.

In 2005 Professor Grindea also began the International Institute of Performing Arts Medicine (IIPAM) holding monthly seminars. Distinguished medical specialists such as Professor Earl Owen, world famous Microsurgeon from Australia, as well as Musicians, Performing Arts Medicine Therapists, Music Theatre specialists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, plus Alexander and Feldenkrais specialists were among its members and advisers.

The most recent ISSTIP International Conference took place in London in July 2007 at Thames Valley University and the Royal Society of Musicians. The second day of the conference was devoted entirely to problems associated with Focal Dystonia.

Professor Grindea always encouraged musicians to admit to their problems and to seek help. Her books Tensions in Performance and Healthy Piano Technique, as well as her videos provide examples of her work. She also devised The Grindea Technique, a relaxation technique based on Alexander principles and slow exhalation. In 2008 Professor Grindea distanced herself from ISSTIP activities. She passed away in 2009. We all miss a distinguished friend and visionary. Please read her obituary here: Daily Telegraph.

A new board was elected in January 2009 to continue and develop further the goals set by the ISSTIP founders and take them into the future and worldwide.