Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will narrate the Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Albert Schweitzer Portrait on July 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The free concert on the Esplanade is one of three major events planned by the Boston-based Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to commemorate its 75th anniversary in 2015.
“I look forward to joining members of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and Longwood Symphony Orchestra and thank both organizations for their collaboration and mutual focus around this project,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This performance will offer a special opportunity to reflect on the words of an individual who patterned his life on compassion, dignity and grace for the world’s most distressed communities.”
“It is fitting that the Governor will narrate the Albert Schweitzer Portrait, a solemn performance that marries the words of Dr. Schweitzer with an original composition,” said Bruce Auerbach, Chairman of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors and President & CEO of Sturdy Memorial Hospital. “When he was CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Governor Baker was instrumental in the development of the Schweitzer Fellows program as well as the Longwood Symphony by providing support through the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation.”
The Albert Schweitzer Portrait was co-commissioned by the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and the Longwood Symphony Orchestra. The project grew out of the rich history of collaboration between the two organizations and their mutual focus on Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s ethic Reverence for Life. Patterned after Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait, the performance consists of inspiring passages from Schweitzer’s writing, interspersed with musical interludes. It premiered in 2009 on the 60th anniversary of Dr. Schweitzer’s 1949 trip to the United States
In 1940, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) was the first international organization established to provide support to Dr. Schweitzer’s iconic hospital in Africa which he founded in 1913. Today, ASF continues to support the Schweitzer hospital in Africa, and is primarily focused on improving heath by preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. ASF annually provides experiential leadership development programs to more than 250 graduate students in 12 chapters across the United States and in Lambaréné, Gabon. The Fellows, who design and implement service projects relating to health and wellness in their communities, serve an average of 25,000 persons annually.
The Longwood Symphony Orchestra is nationally recognized for its musical quality and unique community engagement; Orchestra members are primarily healthcare professionals from Boston’s leading hospitals and universities and include doctors, medical students, research scientists, nurses, therapists, and caregivers―many of whom pursued music studies before turning to medicine. Their focus on health and service inspired the creation of Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s award-winning Healing Art of Music Program.
The Schweitzer Fellowship plans other activities later in the year to continue the commemoration: a Bach Organ Recital at Trinity Church in Copley Square on September 29 and a Conference and Gala Awards Dinner and Award Presentation in Boston on October 24.