In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

November 8, 2016

Contrabassoonist to Perform Concert With Mayo Musicians in Display of Gratitude

By In the Loop

Inspired by his care at Mayo, contrabassoonist Lewis Lipnick will perform a concert with Mayo staff members.

Lewis Lipnick thought his music playing days were over. The principal contrabassoonist for the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Lewis was blind in his right eye and had developed a condition in his left eye that was threatening to end his career. He was unable to find a surgeon willing to operate due to the complexity and risks involved. So the professional musician came to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus at the recommendation of his friend and music director, Christoph Eschenbach. "He said, 'You have to go to Mayo Clinic. They can help you,'" Lewis recalls.

At Mayo, Lewis tells us he was "directed to a very fine young surgeon" who was willing to help. The surgeon performed the corrective eye surgery "beautifully" and without complication. "From then on, I've trusted Mayo Clinic with all of my health care," he tells us.

This past August, after returning to Mayo for an unrelated medical concern, inspiration struck Lewis decided he wanted to do something to show "gratitude and appreciation" for everything his care teams at Mayo had done for him. He went to the Office of Patient Affairs and told them he'd like to do so "by performing a concert at Mayo with employees and members of the medical staff who are also musicians," Lewis tells us.

Lewis was sent to Johanna Rian, Ph.D., program director of the Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine in Rochester, who tells us she thought the concert was a great idea. "When I asked some of our staff musicians if they'd be interested, they were unanimously enthusiastic," Rian says.

Those musicians include: J. Michael Bostwick, M.D. (clarinet); Allen Bishop, M.D. (oboe); Christopher Jankowski, M.D. (trumpet); medical students Grace Kim (violin), Matt Schuelke (French horn), and Rohin Aggarwal (euphonium); and allied health staff members Mimi Tung (piano) and Tiffany Strande (violin). They will join Lewis for a concert on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Nathan Landow Atrium, Gonda Building subway.

"I wasn't really sure if this idea would take off, but I guess it has," Lewis says. Indeed. Presented by the Center for Humanities in Medicine, the concert will include musical selections by composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Baldwin, as well as the world premier of a piece of music commissioned specifically for the concert. "It's called 'Dr. Tango,'" Lewis says, adding, "It was written for our group by Noelia Escalzo, a composer from Argentina who's written other music for me, and it's a really neat and interesting piece of music."

Music that violinist Grace Kim is very much looking forward to performing. "This concert is a really cool opportunity, especially knowing Mr. Lipnick's history with Mayo Clinic and that it's his way of giving back," she tells us. "It's a real honor for me to be a part of that."

For more information on the concert, or to reserve your seat, contact the Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine at or call 507-284-5266.

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Tags: Dr. Allen Bishop, Dr. Christopher Jankowski, Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, Dr. Johanna Rian, Grace Kim, Matt Schuelke, Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine, Mimi Tung, Patient Stories, Rohin Aggarwal, Tiffany Strande

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