Two to three times a year, physicians from all over the world exchange their white coats for evening attire and a musical instrument of their choice. Comprised of about 1,000 medical professionals from more than 50 nations, the World Doctors Orchestra (WDO) combines the pleasure of fine music with global medical responsibility. The nonprofit organization hosts two to three benefit concerts a year for medical aid projects.
Rafael Jimenez, M.D., Consultant in the Division of Anatomic Pathology, is a proud new member of this unique group of medical professionals. Dr. Jimenez plays the violin. His first concert was on February 26, 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand, at Prince Mahidol University. Approximately 70 physicians/musicians from all over the world came together to interpret Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #3, accompanied by Thai soloist Poom Prommachart, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece, “Scheherazade,” which is a technically challenging piece with contrasting orchestral dynamics.
Despite having only three days for rehearsals, the orchestra delivered a very professional rendition of these compositions.
“I was impressed by the musical level of many of the members and the ability of the conductor and founder of WDO, Prof. Dr. Stefan Willich, to arrange such complex pieces. I was lucky enough I could take my family with me, and to have them hear me play at this magical venue will always be a highly cherished memory,” said Dr. Jimenez.
Like many members of the organization, throughout Dr. Jimenez’s career, medicine and music have been quite incompatible. Dr. Jimenez took off one year of medical school to be able to continue to play music and study violin, however, by his fourth year of medical school, he had to give up music.
“My story is not unique, and actually, I found out that many musicians/physicians go through the same dilemma. World Doctors Orchestra provides a very unique opportunity for those of us who chose medicine but still want to have a presence in the musical world,” said Dr. Jimenez.
For Dr. Jimenez, WDO has proven to be complementary to his career.
“World Doctors Orchestra has provided a great opportunity to combine my two passions: music and medicine. Plus, all proceeds go to charity organizations of the country where the concert takes place. So, it was a nice way of giving back by doing something that I enjoy,” added Dr. Jimenez.
About World Doctors Orchestra
The World Doctors Orchestra was founded in 2007 and combines the pleasure of fine music with global medical responsibility. Two to three times a year, some 100 physicians from all over the world perform a benefit concert for medical aid projects. While the physicians' daily work focuses on healing one patient at a time, as an orchestra, this team promotes the conviction that neither national borders nor political or economic interests should limit access to basic health care.