Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Activities

During the summer, the musicians of the LSO have a chance to take a break from their usual rehearsals and schedules to pursue other interests. Some of them go away to do research, others find time for musical pursuits.

During the early weeks of August, here are some of the activities that our members have been engaged in:

Pan Mass Challenge:
As if they did not have enough to keep them busy, two of our musician members, Dr. Wolfram Goessling and Dr. Mark Gebhardt, have been toning up all summer in preparation for Pan Mass Challenge, the two-day biking marathon that raises money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Both have devoted their lives to treating cancer - Mark is an orthopedist who specializes in bone cancer and will be riding with one of his patients, a cancer survivor.

Wolfram is an oncologist specializing in liver cancer. For him, this is a personal journey as well. Wolfram rides in memory of his father (pictured below). He writes:

"My mission is to raise funds for our research on hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer that affects children. I am extremely proud to be riding for Team L.E.G.S. - Legs Ending Great Suffering - a team of very dedicated (and fast) riders who have supported our lab from the beginning. But the real reason for me to ride is my dad who passed away from liver cancer two years ago this weekend. The fight against cancer is not just a great scientific challenge, it is also personal, and we need to win it pedal stroke by pedal stroke and mile by mile."

Good luck, Mark and Wolfram!

Seeding Labs

On Thursday August 4, Longwood Symphony musician/scientists sponsored an reception to meet the 2011 Novartis Seeding Labs Fellows to talk about creativity and shared international interests. This remarkable group of medical school professors from Mali and Ghana are visiting the United States for an intensive 9 week fellowship in Boston, sponsored by Novartis. Their research varies from infectious disease interests in tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and Leishmaniasis to public health and pharmacology, studying sustainable food sources and the search for bioactive compounds from natural products.

Seeding Labs CEO and Founder Dr. Nina Dudnik, launched the fellowship in 2010. She talked about how important it was to connect scientists around the world. Violinists Sherman Jia (a 5th year HMS-HST student) and Dr. Mark Emerson (post-doc in Genetics) found scientists who shared their similar research interests. Dr. Lisa Wong met Dr. Dr. Rita Dickson, a professor of pharmacology, who studied at King's College in London before returning to educate the next generation in her native Ghana.

The evening concluded with a music, as Ashley Lau, a 2nd year M.D./Ph.D. student and Lisa Wong performed works by Bach, Kreisler and Elgar. Following the concert, many of the guests shared that they had never heard a performance by violin and piano before. Some had never seen a violin, and a lively conversation about similar African stringed musical instruments ensued.

We look forward to continuing our conversation with these talented scientists, even after they have returned to their home countries, and are grateful to Seeding Labs for its vision.

Music on the Esplanade

On August 17 at 2011, Longwood Symphony musicians will come back together to launch the 2011-12 season with their annual summer concert at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade.

Guest Conductor David Commanday will lead the orchestra in a performance of Johann Strauss' Overture to Die Fledermaus, Tchaikovksy's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the winner of the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts concerto competition, and Dvorak's pastoral Symphony No. 8.

This free summer event is a season favorite--Bring your friends and family with a picnic and blanket to enjoy music under the stars.

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