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The incredible story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra that reveals the remarkable interplay between music and medicine

You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite radio station. But the LSO is not just any orchestra. It began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care professionals and has since flourished under the leadership of violinist Dr. Lisa Wong, who became president of the LSO in 1991. The orchestra is now a proud, extraordinary group of musicians with fans around the globe.

In Scales to Scalpels, Dr. Wong and Robert Viagas chronicle how the musical acumen of these physicians affects the way they administer healing and, in turn, how their work affects their music. What cognitive and emotional shifts occur when a surgeon transitions from the chaos of the ER to the discipline of the orchestra rehearsal studio? What’s it like to make a house call to a poor neighborhood in the morning and then play trumpet in a jazz group that night? Does music heal the doctors the way the doctors heal their patients? How does practicing the art of music transform the art of practicing medicine?

ABOUT Lisa Wong

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Dr. Lisa Wong is an associate in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and maintains her own private practice in Boston’s South Shore. She is the president of the Longwood Symphony, an orchestra in which she plays violin, and a board member of Young Audiences of Massachusetts. She also helped start “Bring Back the Music,” which revitalized in-class instrumental music instruction in Boston public schools.

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