The World Doctors Orchestra (WDO), a worldwide organization of physicians who are also accomplished musicians will make its Houston debut with a week long series of events as part of its 29th concert session.
The WDO was founded in 2008 by Stefan Willich, MPH, MBA, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Charité Hospital in Berlin. The mission of the orchestra is to combine the pleasure of fine music with global medical responsibility. Two to four times a year, more than 100 physicians from around the world exchange their white coats for evening attire to perform community outreach and healthcare-related benefit concerts.
“We are excited to have our orchestra perform in Houston this summer as we showcase the marriage of the arts, science, and technology in a city which played a vital role as the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of man’s lunar landing.” Willich said.
During concert weeks, the world’s leading medical clinicians and scientists converge to rehearse around eight hours per day for three to four days leading up to performances. The WDO regularly performs to sold-out audiences in the world’s most iconic concert halls like the Elbphilhamonie in Hamburg and the Philharmonie de Paris.
The World Doctors Orchestra begins its week as part of the McGovern Medical School Arts & Resilience Series at noon, Tuesday, Aug. 13 in MSB 5.001. Willich will present a lecture on the interplay of music and medicine while the WDO String Ensemble will perform Dvorak’s American Quartet.
The WDO will then provide a free preview performance at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 in the Crain Garden at Houston Methodist Hospital as part of the Crain Garden Series. The event will feature works from Copland and Brahms as well as a one-of-a-kind performance from Mei Rui, DMA, a Houston based pianist and neuroscience researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Rui will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 while synchronizing projections of her own brain-activation images while she plays.
The week wraps at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 when the WDO presents a concert featuring Copland’s Outdoor Overture, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, and an encore performance from Rui at Stude Concert Hall at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased here.
In total, 16 members of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra will perform with the WDO including Henry Wang, MD, MS, vice chair for research and professor of emergency medicine at McGovern Medical School; as well as alumni Grace Liao Lee, MD; and Charlie Lee, MD. Grace, the concertmaster of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra will return to play at her alma mater for the Arts & Resilience event.
“The World Doctors Orchestra is an incredible organization,” Wang said. “The caliber of musical talent is truly amazing. Many of the members studied music in college and many perform in professional orchestras. When 120 of the world’s best musicians gather in one place to play the world’s greatest music, the result is truly magical and inspiring. I have made countless friends through the WDO, including friends from Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.”