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PHYSICIANS-MUSICIANS* E. LEE STROHLA ROBERT W.JAMIESON.t AND W. G. DlFFENBAUGHl The profession of medicine and the art of music have been closely allied since ancient times. Apollo, according to Greek and Roman mythology, was the god of medicine, music, and poetry [I]. To Homer, the greatest of poets, go the laurels for his successful use of music as a therapeutic agent in the difficult field of surgery. It is only now, after nearly 3,000 years, that music is being used in surgery, though from rather a different aspect than to check the flow ofblood from the wound of Ulysses, as was originally done [2]. In our operating rooms at RushPresbyterian -St. Luke's Medical Center, classical music is available, at the option of the surgeon and the patient, prior to and during the surgical procedure. The association of medicine and music was especially marked in the nineteenth century. Contributions to music during that period can be focused on many outstanding physicians. There were many less well known physicians who were also musicians. Christian Fenger was born in Jutland, Denmark, in 1840 and ultimately reached Chicago, where he attained phenomenal success as a surgeon, pathologist, and teacher. His teaching attracted men who became the leaders of medicine in the Midwest, among whom were James B. Herrick, Ludwig Hektoen, Frank Billings, Lewis L. McArthur, John B. Murphy, Howard Taylor Ricketts, H. Gideon Wells, E. R. LeCount, Louis J. Mitchell, C. G. Buford, Samuel C. Plummer, Weller Van Hook, Henry Baird Favill, Bayard Holmes, Stanley P. Black, W. T. Belfield, and M. L. Harris [3]. Fenger's original plan was to be a civil engineer, but he yielded to his father's wishes and took up the study of medicine, carrying on the family tradition ofone great physician in every generation. He received the degree of doctor of medicine from the University of Copenhagen. Christian's brother, Sophus Fenger, a physician, had migrated to *This paper was read before lhe Chicago Literary Club, February 1973, and is published here with their permission. tAddress: 5830 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637. fAddress: 1725 West Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612.§Address: 122 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60603. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Winter 1974 | 267 Egypt and was practicing medicine in Alexandria. Christian joined him there and carried on Sophus's practice while he was on a long vacation. Christian Fenger possessed a musical talent, which was recognized by the khédive ofEgypt, who utilized it in a successful manner. A performance of the opera Aida was to be a part of the festivities celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal. The khédive had commissioned Verdi to write the opera. He realized that the musicians of Egypt were incapable of producing an opera on European standards, and, knowing of Fenger's musical ability, he delegated him to produce the opera. On opening night, the opera, attended by royalty from many parts of the world, was a brilliant success, not only as an artistic production but as an accomplishment for Fenger. Fritz Kreisler was born in Vienna in 1875. He was a child prodigy of music and became a world-renowned violinist. At the age of 12 he won the Grand Prix of the Paris Conservatory, and when he was 20 he was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome. After a successful tour of the United States as a concert violinist early in his life, he gave up music and began the study of medicine, later becoming an officer in the Austrian army. Nevertheless, he abandoned medicine for music and made it his lifelong career. Leopold Auenbrugger, who was the father of auscultation, wrote great librettos for the opera. He composed the music for the Salieri opera The Chimney Sweep and became a great favorite of Maria Theresa. Florient Kist was one of the most famous Dutch musicians. As a physician , he practiced at the Hague. A player of the flute and cornet, he composed great music for these instruments. He also organized musical societies and founded ajournai dealing with music. William Kitchener, born in 1775 in England, was considered eminent as a physician-composer. He was a graduate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 267-285
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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