Music Medicine: California Surgeon plays duets with patient prior to surgery
January 4, 2016, 9:05 AM · Some doctors have a better way to be at bedside than others, but certainly Dr. William Sloan took the award last month for harmonious interaction with his patient.
Dr. Sloan, an amateur urolist and violinist, played several duets with his patient, Sergio Vigilato, a professional musician who sang and played on an acoustic guitar just before going to the Dignity Health Glendale Memorial surgery room in the Los Angeles area. The two played duets, including “Tennessee Waltz.” They could have continued all day if it were not for the fact that several surgeries were scheduled for the day. It is certainly a beautiful interaction, and for me, it illustrates many of the fundamental reasons why we play music:
Dr. Sloan and patient – Performing a soothing duel before surgery at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial. If Dr. Sloan looks or sounds familiar, he may have been a great supporter of violin art for a long time. The owner of the 1714 “Leonora Jackson” Stradivari and a Guarneri of the Gesù 1742, Dr. Sloan has been generous in lending his violins to both performers and violin makers for study and copying.
And as if that were not enough, Dr. Sloan has used the hands of the surgeon to make three violins. He is a regular participant in the annual summer workshops of the Violin Society of America at Oberlin College, where he has completed the creation of three instruments. I had the great privilege of playing his second (“Sloaneri # 2”, he calls it), who generously lent me while my Gagliano was being repaired last summer; It was lovely to play and even used it in a quartet recital.
Dr. Sloan and his wife, Judy, also celebrate an annual Boxing Day tradition – every year musicians from around the world gather at their home in Los Angeles to play Handel’s Messiah the day after Christmas. The house has its own history; It was previously owned by Alexander Borisoff, the last major cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who had guests to play in the music room, guests such as cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinists Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein and Albert Einstein.The point here is a very busy person, who nevertheless finds the time to allow musical connections to grow, even in the most unlikely places.
Music helps us build the spirits of the other; Feed our own souls. In all the lessons we learn about the violin – how to play in pitch and in time and on the right side of the string – let’s not forget that one.