The Nebraska Medical Orchestra recently made its national debut.
Five of its members joined musicians from across the country to play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in the first National Virtual Medical Orchestra.
“Our amazing Nebraska Medical Orchestra stood shoulder-to-shoulder (virtually) with some very big-name established medical orchestras,” said Steven Wengel, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for campus wellness for UNO and UNMC.
Conducted by John Masko, music director of the Providence Medical Orchestra, the virtual orchestra was made up of 50 medical professionals around the country who are affiliated with 15 different medical orchestras, including from Yale, Northwestern University and Columbia University.
“Our musicians love to play and, for many of us, the pandemic has interrupted organized rehearsals,” said Matthew Brooks, D.M.A., director of the Nebraska Medical Orchestra, which formed in 2018. “When the director of the National Virtual Medical Orchestra reached out to us in early May, we were thrilled to have some of our top musicians participate. The virtual orchestra provides our musicians with an outlet during these stressful times and an opportunity to showcase their talents nationally.”
Nebraska Medical Orchestra musicians who participated in the first virtual performance were:
- Jake Son, UNMC M.D./Ph.D. student
- Gabriella Rizzo, UNMC M.D./MBA student
- Rachael Neff, UNMC staff
- Madeline Olson, UNMC Ph.D. candidate
- Dani Portz, Nebraska Medicine nurse
Each member of the virtual orchestra recorded their own part and Masko had an audio and video producer combine the recordings collectively. The five-minute performance was released on June 25.
The Nebraska Medical Orchestra is a volunteer orchestra open to all health care-related musicians in Nebraska, including students, staff and faculty from UNMC, Nebraska Medicine and Children’s Hospital. Beginning in August, Dr. Brooks also will serve as director of orchestral activities in music and medicine for UNO and UNMC. The new position will allow him to develop new collaborative initiatives among faculty, staff and students at UNO and UNMC.
Dr. Brooks said the Nebraska Medical Orchestra plans to start small chamber music ensemble rehearsals July 1 through mid-August. Ranging from duos to sextets, groups will rehearse outside or masked indoors with physical distancing, he said.
Participants in the National Virtual Medical Orchestra included the:
- Columbia University Medical Center Orchestra
- Detroit Medical Orchestra
- Durham Medical Orchestra
- Indiana University School of Medicine Orchestra
- Longwood Symphony Orchestra
- Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra
- Medical Orchestra of UW Madison
- Nebraska Medical Orchestra
- Northwestern Medical Orchestra
- Penn Med Symphony Orchestra
- Providence Medical Orchestra
- Texas Medical Center Orchestra
- VCU Health System Orchestra
- Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.