Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra Set to Debut
November 11, 2008
Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra
More than 30 health care professionals from throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center are getting ready for their inaugural orchestral performance tomorrow afternoon. The Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra, which includes a broad cross section of health care disciplines, including an emergency medicine physician, a scientist in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and an athletic trainer, will play at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Flaum Atrium.
Conducted by David Harman, who also conducts the University of Rochester’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Penfield Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the group will perform selections by Mozart, Beethoven and von Weber.
“I am impressed by the very high musical quality of the group. I think the audience will be amazed to learn that we have only been playing together for one month,” said Stephen Lurie, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a key organizer of the Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra. “While music is a form of self-expression, it also requires a lot of practice and hard work to do it well. My theory on the orchestra’s success: physicians and scientists tend to be serious, careful people who set high personal standards for themselves, and that this is reflected in their approach to music.”
The group’s beginnings can be traced back to a revival of classical music at the Medical Center. About three years ago, neurosurgeon Webster Pilcher, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, decided to host a musical series that would make classical music concerts available – free of charge – to all faculty and staff at the Medical Center. A passionate consumer of classical music, Pilcher also was intrigued with the brain signaling involved in performing music, as it entails one of the brain’s most complex feats: producing skilled serial actions. Tiny motor movements, guided at frenetic pace, create the fine variations of tempo, timbre and phrasing that together give rise to aesthetic styles.
The result of his efforts was the creation of the Music on My Mind concert series, which are held at the end of the workday and performed in front of hundreds of Medical Center faculty, staff and students. Over the years, the concerts have showcased the vast musical talents that exist in the University of Rochester, whether it is a world-renowned researcher who also happens to be world-class opera singer or a classical guitar player. The concerts have also featured one-of-a-kind collaborations between medical students and Eastman School of Music faculty and students.
As the popularity of Music on My Mind grew within the Medical Center, it also spawned the creation of a Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra, comprised of faculty and staff who put their music aside to pursue other careers, but still have a love and talent for music.