Musically gifted doctors reunite for the 12th edition of The Doctors’ Orchestra

A fundraising concert at Cadogan Hall in aid of UK-based charity Freedom from Torture

A unique group of medical professionals known as The Doctor’s Orchestra, led by surgeon and musician Stephen Brearley, will be reuniting for their annual concert.

The performance will take place on Monday 20 September 2021 in London’s prestigious Cadogan Hall, enjoy from the seats with fellow classical music fans in this historic setting, or live-stream the concert from the comfort of your home.
The twelfth concert in support of Freedom from Torture, will open with the brilliant Bartered Bride Overture by Bedřich Smetana, the acknowledged ‘father of Czech music’, and concludes with one of the greatest works by leading Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor.

Between these works comes the reflective Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms, a composer steeped in central European folk music and an admirer and promoter of the music of Dvořák.

Winner of the prestigious Pierre Fournier Award, and referred to as a ‘mesmerising musical treasure’ by The Strad Magazine, the London-based cellist Gemma Rosefield will also make her second appearance with the orchestra in Dvořák’s passionate Concerto, which he composed in the US but is suffused with longing for his Czech homeland.

The funds raised will be a vital lifeline for survivors of torture. In particular, it will support Freedom from Torture’s music therapy programme, led by Bosnian refugee and music therapist Harmin Sijercic. Harmin trained as a classical pianist when the war started in the ‘90s. He fled to the UK and now uses his skills to help fellow refugees and survivors to heal from torture through music.

Harmin Sijercic, music therapist at Freedom from Torture, said: “Music therapy is a safe space for torture survivors to process their traumas. We use the same language by connecting through the medium of music. Being a refugee myself, I understand how powerful this experience can be. One of my clients was arrested in Iran for carrying a guitar, as that was seen as too westernised. When he first came to music therapy, he kept away from that instrument. It was only after we built a relationship that he mustered the courage to go back to the guitar and that changed his life. He formed a band, his depression disappeared, and he even got a place at college. That was amazing, how music transformed his life.”

Stephen Brearley, Consultant General Surgeon and conductor, said: “It has been tremendously rewarding to bring together this group of outstanding medical musicians to raise money for Freedom from Torture’s invaluable work over the last ten years. The players love doing it and we have great fun together during an intensive weekend of rehearsals leading up to each concert. We all feel very fortunate to be able to step out of our demanding medical lives to put on these concerts and get an additional buzz from knowing that, by doing so, we are helping survivors of torture to rebuild their lives.”

Diana Cassell, Doctor & Orchestra Member, said: “I have been involved in fundraising for Freedom From Torture for 11 years. I play in an orchestra in which all members volunteer their time to organise the event, practise the music, rehearse together and then perform. I am committed to this because of the importance of FFT’s work in assisting refugees who have experienced torture, both practically to rebuild a life as well as providing therapy for recovery. In particular they have provided really impressive and responsive services for asylum seekers and refugees during the pandemic with many living in hostels where lockdown has particularly hard and so needing extra support emotionally, practically and with IT connectivity. Many of these vulnerablehave experienced repressive regimes and so are fearful in situations such as the pandemic with Government regulations, their work has made a huge difference.” 

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