In Thursday’s (5/12) St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Blythe Bernhard writes, “Cancer patients at St. Louis University will soon be greeted with classical music when they visit the hospital for chemotherapy or other treatments. Dr. Mark Varvares, director of the SLU cancer center, hopes the new partnership with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will comfort patients while training students and musicians in music therapy. The project will also include research to learn more about the healing power of music to reduce pain and stress. … The formal partnership between St. Louis University and the symphony is thought to be a first for the region and was inspired in part by a similar program between the University of Pittsburgh hospital and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. SLU is interviewing candidates for a full-time music therapist position who will coordinate their program and offer training to students and musicians. … Symphony musicians Shawn Weil, violin, and Bjorn Ranheim, cello, played duets by Reinhold Gliere on Monday at a kickoff event at the SLU medical school. Participation for the musicians is voluntary, but they are compensated for their community work.” For more on music and healing, see the story “Harmonic Treatment” in the forthcoming Summer issue of Symphony.

Posted May 16, 2011