Surprisingly, I have often found myself, in my musical life, playing classical music with physicians. I’ve been fascinated by the real connection between music and medicine, and I even tried to dissect that relationship in one of the characters of my novel, Out of the Ruins. My friend, Lisa Wong, is a musician and a doctor, and she has also written quite a bit on the subject in her book, Scales to Scalpels.
This past week Lisa posted a concert which she took part in, and I want to share it with you. In this time of social isolation, artists of all sorts have had to find new ways to bring performances of their art to an audience. I think that classical musicians have been especially good at this. One example is the National Virtual Medical Orchestra which conductor, John Masko, founded. NPR’s article explains the reasons behind what he did. It quotes Dr. Erica Hardy from Rhode Island:
“Many of us have been musicians longer than we’ve been doctors or scientists or nurses,” she says. “I started playing when I was 4 years old. Hardy says that the positive impact of playing music for them is two-fold. “It gives us an outlet. We use a different part of our brain; it’s a time to do something else and take our minds off medicine,” she says, and that it also helps having a hobby with lower stakes. “We try to play all the notes, but if we hit the wrong one, it’s not life or death.”
You can read the rest of the article here which includes a fascinating description of how the entire thing was put together using musicians from around the US. But even moreso, watch their performance of Brahms’ Festival Overture. It will be a six-minute highlight of your day.