January 22, 2010

Longwood Symphony Orchestra, New England Conservatory Perform Symphonic Relief For Haiti:
A Global Concert to Benefit Partners In Health

Goal is to Raise $250,000 for Earthquake Ravaged Country

Stand with Haiti logo(BOSTON) – In keeping with its mission to Heal the Community through Music, Boston-based Longwood Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory present Symphonic Relief for Haiti at NEC’s Jordan Hall, Sunday January 31, 2010, 12:30–2 p.m.

Artistic Director Jonathan McPhee will conduct LSO, an orchestra whose membership is comprised mainly of health care professionals representing nearly every medical institution in the city.

Featured artists will include NEC faculty Paula Robison and Richard Stoltzman, NEC student Jean Bernard Cerin and Preparatory student Aurélie Théramène, A Far Cry chamber orchestra, and the Boston Children's Chorus. Student musicians from NEC, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University will augment the instrumental ensembles.

Jean Bernard CerinJean Bernard CerinThe concert has already received $10,000 sponsorships from Partners HealthCare, Tufts Health Plan, and Harvard Medical School and $15,000 from Merck and Co. Proceeds will benefit the Stand With Haiti initiative of Partners In Health, the non-profit, Boston-based health care organization created in 1987 by Dr. Paul Farmer, Thomas J. White, and Todd McCormack. On the ground in Haiti for 20 years, Partners In Health (PIH) was the focus of Pulitzer Prizewinner Tracy Kidder’s bestselling book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Longwood Symphony has had a longstanding relationship with PIH, which was one of the orchestra's Community Partners in 2006. Some members of the orchestra are traveling to Haiti to take part in the medical relief effort including Dr. Mark Gebhardt, Principal Clarinet and Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital.

Aurélie ThéramèneAurélie ThéramèneThe musicians will play works by Bach, Faure, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Tchaikovsky, as well as Albert Schweitzer Portrait by American composer Gene Scheer, which was co-commissioned by LSO and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and given its world premiere last spring by the LSO. Modeled after Copland's A Lincoln Portrait, the Scheer work pays homage to the legacy of Dr. Albert Schweitzer whose work as a physician, musician and humanitarian translated idealism into action, eliminating health care inequalities through direct service.

Among the performers are two with Haitian backgrounds: baritone Jean Bernard Cerin, a Master's degree candidate at the Conservatory whose family survived the Haiti earthquake but is living outside of the home in fear of aftershocks; and 17-year old Haitian-American violinist Aurélie Théramène, a student in Project STEP whose family in Haiti has also been deeply affected by the disaster. All musicians are donating their time and expertise to this ambitious effort because of their beliefs that music builds human capacity, elevates the soul, and prepares students for lives that enhance the public good.

The goal of Symphonic Relief for Haiti is three-fold:

  • to raise $250,000, through the concert and other fundraising, for the work of Partners In Health in Haiti
  • to honor the men and women who are volunteering their time and expertise
  • to stand in solidarity with the local Haitian community

All general admission tickets are $25 and available in person at the Jordan Hall Box Office, 290 Huntington Ave. Boston, online, or by phone at 617.585.1260. For more information, visit Longwood Symphony or call 617.667.1527 or visit the NEC website. To make a donation directly to this initiative for Partners In Health, click here.

Who's Who

Partners In Health

Partners In Health (PIH) works to bring modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world. Based in Boston, PIH employs more than 11,000 people worldwide, including doctors, nurses and community health workers in Boston and beyond. On January 16, 2010 the PIH/Zanmi Lasante team was designated by the World Health Organization to serve alongside Haitian Ministry of Health as coordinators of the public University Hospital (HUEH) in Port-au-Prince, supporting the administration and staff in restoring services at the city's central hospital.

Longwood Symphony, McPheeLongwood Symphony Orchestra

Longwood Symphony Orchestra is a unique ensemble established in 1982 with a mission is to perform concerts of musical excellence and innovation while supporting medically-related nonprofit organizations. Nearly eighty percent of the orchestra’s 120 musicians are health care professionals, including physicians and medical students from Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and U. Mass. Medical School.

Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s musical mission is as unique as its medical mission. Artistic Director Jonathan McPhee leads LSO in four annual concerts that feature a blend of repertoire standards and less-recognized masterpieces and performs at least one Boston premiere each season. LSO has reintroduced Boston audiences to works by American composers Barber, Copland and Dello Joio. In 2009, LSO co-commissioned a new work, Albert Schweitzer Portrait with the words of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the music of Gene Scheer, arranged and adapted by Jonathan McPhee. Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s three major programs combine music, medicine and service to Heal the Community through Music.

Jonathan McPhee

Named Music Director and Conductor of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in 2004 and Artistic Director in 2008, Mr. McPhee is also Music Director of the Lexington Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet Orchestra, as well as for the Nashua Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in New Hampshire.

Recent guest engagements include the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Plymouth Philharmonic, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife in Spain, and the Lithuanian National Orchestra. Mr. McPhee has also appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, the Louisiana Philharmonic, The Hague Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre Colonne (Paris), the National Philharmonic in London, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, among others. Mr. McPhee has conducted for many of the world's premier dance companies, including the New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet (England), Martha Graham Dance Company, National Ballet of Canada, and the Australian Ballet. In addition, Mr. McPhee has also conducted opera, appearing with Opera Boston, the American Opera Center in New York, and Boston University Opera, and further extends his diverse repertoire with pops concerts, musical theatre and operetta. An active educator of both music and ballet, Mr. McPhee is an Artistic Advisor for Young Audiences of Massachusetts and his work with Boston's WCRB-FM on "Kids' Classical Hour" resulted in a 1998 Gabriel Award.

New England Conservatory

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, libraries, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

Event Partners

The Rendon Group and Top-Floor Design Group will video record the performance for future fundraising activities.

CONTACT:  Jillian Scales,
LSO General Manager
(617) 667-1527 

CONTACT: Ellen Pfeifer,
NEC Public Relations Manager
(617) 585-1143