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News dated 06.10.2014:

2014 European Phoniatrics Voice Award goes to Prof. Dr. Matthias Echternach

For his research on "Vocal fold vibrations at high soprano fundamental frequencies" Prof. Dr. Echternach, senior physician of the Freiburger Institut für Musikermedizin, Germany, received the Union of European Phoniatrics’ annual voice award, sponsored by XION.

Due to technical limitations it has hitherto been impossible to visually analyze and completely understand the human voice at very high fundamental frequencies. Using the latest endoscopic technologies, Prof. Dr. Echternach of the Universitätsklinikum Freiburg demonstrated that even at 1568Hz the vocal folds produce vibrations with full closure. In summary: even soprano’s voice is always produced by airflow modulations resulting from vocal fold oscillations. Prof. Dr. Echternach was thus able to refute the hypotheses that very high fundamental frequencies are produced by turbulences, vocal tract/vocal fold interactions, or vocal fold oscillations without closure. The European Phoniatrics Voice Award 2014 went to Prof. Dr. Echternach to honor his important contribution that deepens our understanding of the human voice.

Matthias Echternach (born 1973) sang in the Hannover Boys' Choir and at the Staatsoper Hannover in his childhood. After his medical doctorate, he became an ENT specialist. Since 2011 he has been employed as senior physician at the Freiburger Institut für Musikermedizin. In 2013 he was appointed associate professor at the University of Freiburg. For his research in the field of vocal registers he received several awards, and is still an active tenor, performing both as a soloist and as a member of several ensembles.