At 103, Arthritis Doctor Still Leads An Illustrious Medical Career And Plays A Mean Violin

man-violinOn his 103rd birthday, the arthritis doctor could still play a nice tune on the violin. Music is was not his best love, but it was his first love, and it was the muse that accidentally launched him on an illustrious career in medicine.

“Maybe I should have stayed in music but I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t,” Dr. Ephraim Engleman said as he celebrated his March 24 birthday at his San Mateo home. “Music is not a great profession. It’s a luxury and a pleasure. And furthermore, I don’t think I was ever quite that good.”

But the San Jose native was still good enough to play Joseph Haydn’s Opus 64, No. 6, on Monday night with the San Andreas Quartet, a group of friends who play every week at his San Mateo home. As they settled in, Engleman, who plays violin, felt some tightness in his hands from old injuries. Read the full article…

Paraguay’s LANDFILHarmonic — Recycle Orchestra

CBS 60 Minutes aired a story about Paraguay’s “Recycle Orchestra”

  • “Ultimately, Music will triumph everywhere and anywhere.”
  • “You will be amazed what else is made of this trash. Violins are made from concentrates; cellos from oil cans, …. these instruments are not worth a dime.”
  • “I always wanted to be a musician, or play an instrument. Actually, I wanted to be a singer. Sometimes our dreams do come true, maybe not in our lives, but people we love very much.” said the grandma.
  • “When I play the violin, I am transported to a beautiful place which is completely different than where I am now, it has clear skies, open fields, and lots of green. It’s clean, and no trash, and no contamination.  It’s just my violin and me alone.” said the 1st violinist.
  • “These values are completely different than those from the gangs. These kids are absolutely love the orchestra, and hate to be a part of the gang.”
  • “People used to called us trash pickers; and today, they are more civilized, they call us “recyclers”.”
  • “Send us your garbage, and we’ll send it back to you, as music.”
  • “You could make music with trash.”

View the broadcast here.


Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

There is a remarkable symphony orchestra and chorus in the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world. A story about this remarkable ensemble aired on CBS 60 Minutes on April 20, 2014. Everyone commutes to rehearsal, 6 days a week. Some trek, through rough terrain and inhospitable conditions, 90 minutes each way to rehearse. What kept them going? The MUSIC! Some quotes from the broadcast:

“When Sylvia plays her violin, she says she left the planet.”

“Their faces change when they do their music.”

“I joined the orchestra Nov. 8, 2013, it is like a birth of symphony orchestra, a date we cannot forget.”

If you didn’t get a chance to see it Sunday night, click here to watch it. It’s worth your time.


On PBS: Making sure young brains get the benefits of music training

The percentage of students receiving music education has been in decline for decades. The Harmony Project, a music program for inner-city kids in Los Angeles partners with a neurobiologist to study the impact of music training on the learning skills of poor children.
“Music is like a dialogue because we can play a certain thing  – let’s say the violin can play something back –it could be the same melody different notes and it’s like a conversation talking back and forth.”
Click here to watch it.

Charlie White Plays Violin on ‘Today’ After Winning Gold at Sochi Olympics with Meryl Davis

charlie-white-violinGold Medalist Charlie White breaks out his violin on The Today Show during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Tuesday morning (February 18) in Sochi, Russia (watch it here).

The 26-year-old ice dancer, who just won the gold medal in ice dance with partner Meryl Davis, honored a promise he made with Savannah Guthrie that he’d play violin if he took home the gold.

After his impromptu performance, Charlie shared: “I think I was more nervous for that. It’s been a solid three years since I’ve played the violin so I’m just honored that it could be for you guys.”

“I felt like we had done everything we could from the beginning of this competition, in practice, team event, this event. And 17 years of hard work was justified. To come away with a gold medal is amazing,” Charlie shared in a press conference earlier about their win.

Orion Received Honorable Mention in the 10 Top Performances of 2013 in Chicago for their Hindemith Quartet!


In Chicago Classical Review, the Orion Ensemble’s performance, Hindemith Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano received honorable mention in The Top 10 Performances of 2013 in Chicago by Lawrence A. Johnson on December 23, 2013.  The top honor went to Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Verdi’s Macbeth.

The entire list contains impressive performances, and they depict the strength of the classical/ fine arts scene in Chicago and surrounding areas.  Orion received a well-deserved mention. And, for OPUS, what an honor we have to have our ensemble-in-residence being rated amongst such elite groups of musicians!!!

Congratulations — Kathy, Florentina, Judy, and Diana!