The New Zealand Doctors’ Orchestra is playing at the Dunedin Town Hall on Sunday 23 June at 2pm, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Otago Community Hospice. Medical musician and NZDO co-founder, Tim Wilkinson, talks about how the orchestra came to be:
The New Zealand Doctors’ Orchestra is one of several orchestras around the world made up of medical musicians. There is an Australian Doctors’ Orchestra, a European Doctors’ Orchestra and a World Doctors’ Orchestra. There are also many local medical orchestras, for example in Christchurch, Auckland and Melbourne. The New Zealand Doctors’ Orchestra (NZDO) gave its first concert in 2012. Since then, the NZDO has given annual concerts in various parts of New Zealand.
The orchestra was founded by myself, my wife Lynette Murdoch (a GP and teacher for Otago University), and our son Tom, a medical registrar. I play double bass, Lynette plays violin and Tom plays trumpet. We decided to form a national doctors’ orchestra for several reasons. There are many doctors who are very able and/or keen musicians, yet sometimes the pressures of work mean their musical talents are not realised. The NZDO provides Kiwi medical musicians an opportunity to play in a high quality national orchestra, encourages collegiality and enhances work-life balance.
The New Zealand Doctors’ Orchestra is made up of around 70 doctors and medical students from throughout New Zealand. Many of the players have played professionally and many others have found the orchestra stimulated them to take up their instruments again. The participants pay their own expenses and an enrolment fee that covers venue hire, conductor’s fee etc. Proceeds from ticket sales for public concerts are donated to charity.
People often ask me how I find time for music. In fact when you’re busy, it’s even more important to have something that helps you to relax and recharge your batteries. There is a social side to it as well. Making music with other people is a lot of fun, and even though you’re not always talking, there is an inherent pleasure in making music as a group.
This year, the New Zealand Doctors’ Orchestra is playing in the Dunedin Town Hall on Sunday 23 June at 2pm, and all proceeds will be donated to the Otago Community Hospice. The concert will feature Dvořák’s New World Symphony (no 9) and Brahms’ Academic Overture. There will also be a Marimba Concerto by Sejourné. The soloist for this, Rachel Thomas, is an Auckland medical student and freelance musician (a percussionist) who plays in various ensembles in the Auckland region. She has won national awards for her performances and has played in some of New Zealand’s top orchestras and brass bands. As well, composer Anthony Ritchie, Professor of Music at the University of Otago, has written the Hippocratic Hymn especially for this concert.
Tickets for the concert are available from Ticketmaster here. There will also be door sales.
Professor Tim Wilkinson is director of the University of Otago MBChB programme, and a geriatrician.