Friday, March 2, 2012

Healing harmonies

German consul general hosts Music in Medicine Program


FROM SCRUBS TO STEINWAY: Conrad performs at the Goethe-Institut Boston.


Claudius Conrad, MD, PhD, slowly lifted his fingers from the keys of the Steinway piano after playing the final notes of Schumann’s Kinderszenen. Moments later the standing-room-only audience at the Goethe-Institut Boston broke the silence with calls of “Encore!”

Conrad, surgeon and director of the Music in Medicine Program at the MGH and the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, was the honored guest of Friedrich Löhr, the consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston, and presented a free “Music in Medicine” concert and lecture on Feb. 23. Conrad played the works of Chopin, Mozart and Schumann and discussed the therapeutic benefits of music as it relates to surgery –
for both surgeons and their patients.

Löhr welcomed more than 140 attendees to the event, before turning the podium over to Kenneth Tanabe, MD, chief of the division of Surgical Oncology. “The scope and depth of Dr. Conrad’s talents are incredible. He is a talented surgeon, a wonderful physician, a gifted scientist, a dedicated investigator and an accomplished pianist," Tanabe says. "I sometimes think that we’ve all learned as much from him as he has learned from us. And, of course, one of the areas that we’ve enjoyed the most as students of Claudius is the field of music in medicine.”

Produced by G.G. Garth Music Publishing, the event was a fundraiser for the Division of Surgical Oncology at the MGH. Following Conrad’s 90-minute presentation, the audience participated in a question-and-answer period before enjoying a reception.

“It was an honor to give this concert lecture for the wonderful audience and Consul General Löhr at the Goethe-Institut,” Conrad says. “I was also delighted that my mentors Dr. Andrew Warshaw (surgeon-in-chief emeritus at the MGH) and Dr. Tanabe were there. I hope my presentation raised awareness about the role of music in medicine, but we have only begun to scratch the surface. With more research we can elucidate the specific effects of music in healing and apply them more scientifically."

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