Heifetz Music Institute Launches Hospital "HeartStrings" Program

In partnership with Virginia's healthcare facility, August Health, the new initiative will connect the Institute's young performers with hospital patients and frontline workers.

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The partnership will feature intimate, remote “bedside performances” for individual patients as well as larger group concerts via Zoom. The aim is to provide therapeutic inspiration for those who have been isolated for weeks or even months.

The HeartStrings program will present programming four days a week from mid-February to mid-May.

This initiative is a key component of the first-ever Heifetz Ensemble-in-Residence Program, or HEIR, which will bring alumni of the Institute to live, work, study, and perform for a two-month period. The chosen artists will present nearly 200 virtual bedside concerts, totaling over 64 hours, as well as full ensemble performances to be broadcast throughout Augusta Health’s facilities.

The performers selected for the first session include violinists Julia Angelov and Yezu Woo, violist Matthew Cohen, cellists Noémie Raymond-Friset and Coleman Itzkoff, as well as Heifetz faculty pianist Zhenni Li-Cohen.

"The emotional impacts of social distancing and COVID illnesses are much larger than we could have imagined," Dr. Clint Merritt, Augusta Health’s Chief Clinical Officer for Population Health, said. "The Heifetz Institute is offering a wonderful community service at the perfect time.”

"From patients at Augusta Health to our music-starved patrons to struggling school children throughout the region, we recognize that ours is a community in need of the very things we aim for our students to provide: Communication, Engagement, and Inspiration," Heifetz Institute President & CEO Benjamin K. Roe said. "I can think of no higher calling for our young alums, who themselves are struggling to contend with the shattering effects of the pandemic on their budding careers."